Brother of school shooter Nikolas Cruz gets 6 months' probation for trespassing at Parkland school

Zachary Cruz, the younger brother of Parkland, Florida, school shooter Nikolas Cruz, was sentenced Thursday to six mo...

Posted: Mar 29, 2018 10:08 PM
Updated: Mar 29, 2018 10:08 PM

Zachary Cruz, the younger brother of Parkland, Florida, school shooter Nikolas Cruz, was sentenced Thursday to six months of probation for trespassing at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School earlier this month.

The younger Cruz was released Thursday afternoon from the Broward County Jail.

Zachary Cruz pleads no contest to misdemeanor trespassing charge

He initially was jailed on $500,000 bond, which attorney argued was excessive

He was initially jailed on a $500,000 bond, leading his attorney to argue he was being punished because of his older brother, who killed 17 people last month at the school in one of the deadliest mass shootings in modern US history.

Under the terms of his probation, Zachary Cruz will wear a GPS monitor and must remain one mile away from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas campus. He is also forbidden from having any contact with victims or family members of the February 14 mass shooting.

Cruz, 18, was arrested March 19 on a misdemeanor trespassing charge at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High. After his arrest, the younger Cruz told police he wanted to "reflect on the school shooting and soak it in," according to an arrest report.

Probation was reached as part of a plea deal in the case. Cruz, shackled and wearing a brown jumpsuit Thursday morning, pleaded no contest to trespassing.

His attorney Joseph Kimok had earlier argued that the excessive bond showed Cruz was being punished for his brother's actions.

"He is being held because of who he is related to, not because of anything that he did," Kimok told Judge Kim Theresa Mollica.

Police said he has visited the campus at least three times since the school massacre.

His attorney filed a motion for his client's release, calling his treatment immoral, reprehensible, unlawful and unconstitutional. There is no evidence that the defendant threatened anyone when arrested, Kimok wrote.

Cruz was 'overcome with sorrow' after shooting

At the end of Thursday's hearing, in a statement read by his attorney, Cruz apologized "to anyone who felt scared or threatened by his presence on Marjory Stoneman Douglas campus last week."

"Zachary has experienced and continues to experience a trauma unlike anything any of us could imagine," the attorney said. "He watched his mother slowly weaken and die just four months ago. He was 17."

Following his mother's death, Cruz was forced to move and leave behind his school and his friends.

"Then in February, the only family member that he had left, his brother, murdered 17 people in cold blood. Zachary was overcome with sorrow. Sorrow for the victims and their families, sorrow for his brother, who he loves."

Cruz didn't expect to see anyone when he went to the Parkland school, the lawyer said. He simply wanted to "try to make sense of this."

"Zachary is a normal 18-year-old kid who has experienced something more profound than any of us could imagine," the statement said in closing. "Zachary Cruz is not someone any of us needs to fear; he's someone who needs our compassion."

Was he being punished for his brother's crime?

Zachary Cruz faced a second-degree misdemeanor with a bond that is typically $25. Instead, the judge in Cruz's case set bail last week at $500,000, ordered a psychological evaluation, electronic monitoring and no communication with his older brother.

In his first court appearance through closed-circuit TV on March 20, Cruz was shackled and surrounded by three armed deputies, uncommon for someone appearing on a trespassing charge.

His attorney described him as a victim of "hysteria" due to the massacre.

Prosecutors mentioned three earlier crimes to which Cruz pleaded guilty, but records from the Broward County Sheriff's Office and Coral Springs police show his encounters with law enforcement were much more extensive.

He is named or referenced in at least 36 incidents, investigation and call reports between 2011 and 2017.

Shooter's brother banned from buying guns

The Broward County Sheriff's Office sought an order to restrict Zachary Cruz from having access to guns by using a new Florida law passed in the aftermath of last month's school massacre.

He's been temporarily banned from possessing or purchasing firearms or ammunition due to the psychological evaluation he was required to take.

The new law, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, lets law enforcement officers temporarily seize firearms from someone they're taking into custody for an involuntary mental health assessment.

In granting a temporary risk protection order, Judge Jack Tuter noted that the sheriff's office did not allege that Cruz owns guns. However, based on the allegations, the court determined there was reasonable cause to believe Cruz would pose "a significant danger of causing personal injury to himself" if he were to obtain a gun or ammunition, according to the order.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 30674

Reported Deaths: 1107
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds248039
DeSoto157216
Madison129634
Jones112049
Neshoba98571
Rankin91612
Lauderdale90879
Harrison88610
Forrest86042
Scott77015
Jackson61616
Copiah60216
Washington5789
Leake57519
Holmes55141
Lee54718
Wayne54213
Oktibbeha54126
Warren51118
Yazoo5056
Leflore48651
Lowndes48312
Grenada4795
Lamar4567
Lincoln45434
Pike43112
Monroe39930
Lafayette3894
Sunflower3737
Attala35923
Covington3475
Panola3456
Newton3399
Bolivar33414
Adams31018
Simpson3103
Pontotoc2836
Tate27810
Chickasaw27618
Marion27511
Claiborne27010
Jasper2616
Noxubee2618
Winston2596
Pearl River25432
Clay24910
Marshall2263
Smith22011
Union2079
Clarke20624
Walthall2004
Coahoma1996
Kemper17814
Lawrence1741
Yalobusha1717
Carroll16411
Humphreys1479
Tallahatchie1364
Itawamba1358
Montgomery1312
Tippah13011
Calhoun1294
Hancock12613
Webster12510
Jefferson Davis1114
Prentiss1083
Jefferson1073
Greene1058
Tunica1003
Wilkinson949
Amite892
George863
Tishomingo781
Quitman760
Choctaw744
Alcorn682
Perry664
Stone641
Franklin452
Sharkey350
Benton340
Issaquena91
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 41362

Reported Deaths: 983
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson4944152
Montgomery4021103
Mobile4005134
Tuscaloosa222642
Marshall170210
Lee135937
Madison13597
Shelby122723
Morgan10715
Walker91424
Elmore90314
Franklin88914
Dallas8799
Baldwin8469
Etowah72713
DeKalb7075
Butler62428
Chambers62427
Tallapoosa58869
Autauga58312
Russell5450
Unassigned50323
Lauderdale4896
Limestone4810
Houston4794
Lowndes46721
Cullman4394
Pike4205
Colbert3916
Coffee3732
Bullock36810
St. Clair3662
Covington3547
Barbour3472
Escambia3376
Calhoun3325
Hale31021
Talladega3037
Marengo30211
Wilcox2908
Sumter28412
Dale2820
Clarke2736
Jackson2682
Winston2543
Chilton2392
Monroe2342
Blount2301
Pickens2276
Marion21913
Conecuh2047
Randolph2009
Choctaw19512
Bibb1871
Macon1859
Greene1838
Perry1701
Henry1323
Crenshaw1253
Lawrence1070
Washington1057
Cherokee857
Geneva790
Lamar751
Fayette681
Clay642
Coosa581
Cleburne361
Out of AL00
Tupelo
Clear
89° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 96°
Columbus
Scattered Clouds
88° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 98°
Oxford
Scattered Clouds
88° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 93°
Starkville
Scattered Clouds
88° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 94°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather