FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A judge set an unusually high $500,000 bond on Tuesday and imposed a host of other restrictions for the brother of the Florida school shooting suspect who was charged with trespassing at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
A prosecutor said that Zachary Cruz, 18, expressed admiration for his brother Nikolas Cruz’s fame since the Feb. 14 shooting and that they had discussed whether it might attract girls and pen pals.
“He has been heard observing how popular (Nikolas’) name is now,” said Assistant State Attorney Sarahnell Murphy at a hearing.
“Weeks after his brother murdered, injured and terrorized at the school, (Zachary) was there,” she said. “Many (parents) kept their children home today. They have again been terrorized.”
Prosecutors said it was the third time he had visited the campus even though he was warned to stay away.
Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested Zachary Cruz on Monday afternoon, saying he rode his skateboard onto the campus. He is in the same Fort Lauderdale jail where Nikolas Cruz is housed.
Joseph Kimok, who is representing Zachary Cruz, said the bond and conditions were far out of proportion to the trespassing offense.
“He is being held for who he is related to, not for anything he did,” Kimok said.
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — 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.
Nicholas 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.”
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(Broward Sheriff’s Office via AP)