Broward County

How a police officer captured the Parkland shooting suspect on the street

Officer who arrested suspected school shooter talks about apprehension

Coconut Creek police officer Michael Leonard talks to about the moments leading up to the arrest of suspected school shooter Nikolas Cruz.
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Coconut Creek police officer Michael Leonard talks to about the moments leading up to the arrest of suspected school shooter Nikolas Cruz.

He looked like a typical teenager.

That was Coconut Creek patrol officer Michael Leonard’s first thought when he came upon Nikolas Cruz on a suburban street Wednesday.

Leonard was cruising through an area about a mile from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. He had heard the description of the shooting suspect crackling on his police radio.

“It was just myself. A couple of people were walking dogs,” he said.

Then he spotted a young man on the street.

“He looked like a typical high school student,” Leonard said.

He was wearing clothes that matched the description on Leonard’s police radio.

“Could this be the person? Is this who I need to stop?” Leonard said he thought to himself.

So he pulled his patrol vehicle over and confronted the man outside the Pelican Pointe community.

“He complied with my commands and was taken into custody without any weapons,” the officer said.

“This is what we train for. We hope it never happens.”

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