Brother of suspect in Parkland school shooting arrested for trespassing on campus
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The brother of the 19-year-old who confessed to gunning down 17 people at a Florida high school woke up in jail Tuesday following his arrest for trespassing on the campus.
Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested Zachary Cruz, 18, on Monday afternoon, saying he rode his skateboard onto the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School campus after being warned to stay away. They put him in the same Fort Lauderdale jail where his brother, Nikolas Cruz, has been housed since the Feb. 14 shooting.
An initial court appearance on the misdemeanor charge was set later Tuesday. The bond amount for his release was just $25.
Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie called Zachary Cruz’s actions odd. “I understand it does creep people out,” he said.
According to an arrest report, Zachary Cruz told officers he came to the school to “reflect on the school shooting and soak it all in.” He did not resist arrest and the report made no mention of any weapons.
Zachary Cruz, who turned 18 a week after the school shooting, has been living in Lantana, Florida, with a family friend, Rocxanne Deschamps, since the mother of both boys died in November. Their father died some years earlier.
Deschamps was scheduled Tuesday to hold a news conference in New York City with her attorney, the well-known lawyer Gloria Allred, about why she took the boys in.
Nikolas Cruz was living with a different family when the Stoneman Douglas shooting took place. His attorney has said he will plead guilty to 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder if prosecutors will waive the death penalty, which they have refused to do.
Police records show Zachary Cruz has also had a troubled life, although no arrest record. His mother, Lynda Cruz, made frequent calls to the Broward Sheriff’s Office about him running away, refusing to go to school, being rude and disrespectful and attempting to break things in their Parkland home. Some of the calls go back to when Zachary was 11 years old.
One report from October 2013 said Mrs. Cruz reported that Zachary was trying to break windows in the house and had “refused to go to bed and was banging on the door after being locked out.”
Earlier, in August 2012, sheriff’s deputies reported that Mrs. Cruz told them Zachary “is rude and always runs away from home … refuses to follow house rules.”
After the shooting, according to a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office report, Zachary told deputies that “he and his friends, when they were younger, had bullied Nikolas, which he now regrets ever doing. Zachary wishes that he had been ‘nicer’ to his brother” and that there may be resentment between the two “as Nikolas may have been the favored brother.”