Broward County

Stoneman Douglas High School shooting suspect held without bond on 17 counts of murder

Court hearing for suspect in Broward high school mass shooting

Court hearing for Nikolas Cruz, suspect in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
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Court hearing for Nikolas Cruz, suspect in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Nikolas Cruz, the suspect in Wednesday’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, was booked into Broward County Main Jail Thursday morning and made his first court appearance Thursday afternoon.

Predictably, charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder, the 19-year-old was denied bond.

“You’re charged with some very serious crimes,” Broward County Judge Kim Theresa Mollica told the defendant via a video feed from the County jail to her courtroom.

Broward assistant public defender Melissa McNeill invoked Cruz’s right to silence while he stood by her in an orange inmate uniform from the county jail. His wrists and ankles were shackled. He showed no emotion and only responded once to a judge’s question about whether he understood why he was in court:

“Yes, ma’am.”

After the court hearing, the chief assistant public defender Gordon Weekes described the defendant’s demeanor as “deeply troubled.”

Asked if Cruz is on suicide watch, Weekes said:

“To my understanding, he is on suicide watch,” Weekes said, as he explained the importance of the defendant’s right to legal counsel despite the multiple murder allegations against him.

Weekes broke up as he spoke with reporters outside the courtroom.

“This is a loss for this community — a tragic loss,” Weekes said.

David J. Neal: 305-376-3559, @DavidJNeal

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