The Parkland shooter's brother says he wants to start an anti-bullying campaign

The brother of the gunman who killed 17 people at a Florida high school says he wants to dedicate himself to ending b...

Posted: May 14, 2018 9:49 AM
Updated: May 14, 2018 9:49 AM

The brother of the gunman who killed 17 people at a Florida high school says he wants to dedicate himself to ending bullying, and that he believes bullying contributed to his brother's actions.

"Because my brother didn't really fit in with a lot of people and I saw the effects of that, like, firsthand," Zachary Cruz told CNN affiliate WPEC outside of an animal boarding house in Green Acres, Florida, on Sunday morning. "It's a real issue so I just want to try to change that."

On February 14, Cruz's adopted brother Nikolas opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, claiming the lives of 17 students and faculty.

Zachary Cruz previously told investigators he bullied his adopted brother Nikolas when they were younger, according to a Palm Beach County Sheriff's report. Two days after the shooting, Cruz said he felt guilty about it and thought he could have prevented it, a detective wrote. He echoed that sentiment on Sunday.

"There's a lot of things I wish I could have did to prevent it," he said. "I wish I could have stopped it somehow."

Cruz told reporters he used to fight a lot with his brother when they were younger, but that they "made amends" and grew closer in their teenage years.

"I felt like I was bullying him a little bit at times, like I felt like I was a little too hard on him at times," Cruz said of their childhoods. "He was a very, like, fragile person, so ... my mom was always there for him."

Their mother, Lynda Cruz, died in November 2017.

"I want to end bullying because it's so dumb," Cruz added Sunday. "Like, everybody, like, deserves to fit in. ... You shouldn't just, I don't know, exclude someone because they're different."

Cruz spoke to reporters Sunday as he was picking up his and his brother's dogs before moving to Virginia, after a judge ruled this week he could serve the rest of his probation there. He's moving with the assistance of the legal rights group Nexus Derechos Humanos to Staunton, where he'll participate in a program that provides counseling and will give him a job as a maintenance technician.

Cruz was originally arrested March 19 on a misdemeanor trespassing charge for skateboarding at Marjory Stoneman Douglas. In late March he was sentenced to six months' probation, ordered to wear a GPS monitor and to have no contact with Parkland victims, their family members or his brother.

Cruz filed a lawsuit against Broward County officials earlier this month, accusing them of violating his Eighth Amendment rights and claiming he was tortured while in jail. The suit also alleges that Cruz has been punished more harshly because of his brother's crimes, pointing to an exorbitant $500,000 bail after his initial arrest.

Cruz said he was looking forward to a fresh start in Virginia.

When asked what he hoped to do there, he said, "Finish high school, work on this bullying thing that I want to do, and just live my life."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 147382

Reported Deaths: 3763
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto973199
Hinds9668197
Harrison6898109
Jackson6178119
Rankin5319100
Lee487695
Madison4666106
Forrest371386
Jones346788
Lauderdale3355144
Lafayette317549
Washington3122107
Lamar283449
Oktibbeha240861
Bolivar240184
Lowndes229763
Neshoba2177115
Panola215849
Marshall209650
Leflore201490
Pontotoc196128
Monroe191477
Sunflower190555
Lincoln186865
Warren172657
Tate165451
Union163925
Pike160658
Copiah159540
Yazoo152039
Scott150729
Coahoma148743
Itawamba148234
Pearl River146567
Alcorn146327
Simpson145153
Prentiss141230
Adams137949
Grenada137745
Leake131943
Holmes126561
Tippah123030
George122324
Covington119737
Winston119124
Wayne116223
Hancock115939
Marion111646
Attala109833
Tishomingo106542
Chickasaw104132
Newton103629
Tallahatchie96327
Clarke88853
Clay87127
Jasper81222
Walthall75328
Stone73114
Calhoun72913
Montgomery72125
Carroll70614
Lawrence70314
Yalobusha70027
Noxubee69717
Smith69616
Perry65426
Tunica59619
Greene58422
Claiborne57616
Jefferson Davis55017
Humphreys52918
Amite51814
Benton48717
Quitman4816
Webster42114
Kemper41918
Wilkinson38722
Jefferson34211
Franklin3265
Choctaw3117
Sharkey30717
Issaquena1124
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 239318

Reported Deaths: 3532
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson31391491
Mobile19562361
Tuscaloosa12813154
Madison12741146
Montgomery12198235
Shelby1000577
Baldwin847398
Lee764466
Morgan634348
Calhoun6112115
Marshall607954
Etowah606565
Houston517038
DeKalb474736
Cullman428038
Limestone413744
St. Clair409055
Elmore400762
Lauderdale393653
Walker3588108
Talladega343453
Jackson307624
Colbert301941
Blount285539
Autauga268641
Franklin247833
Coffee239715
Dale230354
Dallas224531
Russell22053
Chilton219638
Covington216833
Escambia197431
Chambers173749
Tallapoosa173391
Pike157514
Clarke156319
Marion136535
Winston129923
Lawrence124836
Geneva12028
Pickens119418
Marengo119124
Barbour117010
Bibb116217
Butler114441
Randolph100921
Cherokee100824
Hale94531
Clay90223
Washington90219
Fayette87316
Henry8496
Lowndes79129
Monroe78111
Cleburne75714
Macon72321
Crenshaw70730
Bullock69119
Conecuh68314
Perry6756
Lamar6508
Wilcox63118
Sumter57122
Choctaw41913
Greene41418
Coosa3374
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
40° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 40°
Columbus
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 41°
Oxford
Clear
43° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 40°
Starkville
Clear
37° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 37°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather