Broward County

Brother of Parkland shooter arrested for trespassing at Stoneman Douglas High, BSO says

The brother of Nikolas Cruz, Zachary Cruz, center, leaves the courtroom after his brother's arraignment before Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer, Wednesday, March 14, 2018, in Fort Lauderdale. The Broward Sheriff’s Office arrested Zachary Cruz Monday, March 19, 2018, and charged him with trespassing at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the scene of last month’s mass shooting by his brother Nikolas.
The brother of Nikolas Cruz, Zachary Cruz, center, leaves the courtroom after his brother's arraignment before Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer, Wednesday, March 14, 2018, in Fort Lauderdale. The Broward Sheriff’s Office arrested Zachary Cruz Monday, March 19, 2018, and charged him with trespassing at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the scene of last month’s mass shooting by his brother Nikolas. AP

Zachary Cruz, the brother of confessed Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz, was arrested Monday after deputies say he trespassed onto the school’s Parkland campus.

The 18-year-old was warned several times not to be on school grounds, according to the Broward Sheriff’s Office.

“Defendant Cruz surpassed all locked doors and gates and proceeded to ride his skateboard through school grounds,” a Broward sheriff’s deputy wrote in his arrest report.

Zachary Cruz was spotted at about 4:30 p.m. after students had been dismissed for the day.

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Zachary Cruz is shown in this Broward County Sheriff’s Office booking photo released on Monday, March 19, 2018.

The reason he was there, according to the report: “Defendant Cruz stated that he unlawfully entered the school property to ‘reflect on the shooting and to soak it in …”

The school’s closed circuit TV cameras captured his trespassing, BSO said. There were four armed BSO deputies on campus, said Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie. Zachary had once attended the school.

Runcie said Monday evening school officials did exactly what they had been asked to do, that is, “be vigilant.”

“That’s how he was identified and apprehended in short order,’’ Runcie said. “Folks are reacting to it because it’s the shooter’s brother.’’

At least one parent was outraged to learn that the shooter’s brother was on the school grounds.

“I just read the reports regarding Zachary Cruz just cruising onto the campus riding his skate board to “reflect on the shootings and soak it in.” ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!! I want answers ASAP,’’ said Dr. John Crescitelli in an email Monday night. “This may just have been a simple act of trespassing, but I want to know how long he was on campus and were all of his actions recorded?”

The arrest comes about a month after the Valentine’s Day rampage in which Cruz’s 19-year-old brother, Nikolas, entered the high school and shot and killed 14 students and three faculty members with an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle. Prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty against Nikolas.

The younger brother has been seen at his brother’s hearings in tears.

Confessed school shooter Nikolas Cruz appears before a Broward County judge Friday, March 9, 2018. He has been indicted on charges of fatally shooting 17 people and attempting to kill 17 others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High last month. The judg

After the shooting, very different portraits emerged of the Cruz brothers, who were adopted by Lynda and Roger Cruz. Roger Cruz died of a heart ailment at age 67 in 2004. Lynda Cruz died in November of a respiratory illness.

Nikolas Cruz was described by those who new him as depressed, obsessed with firearms and ostracized by peers. Zachary, on the other hand, was described as nice, quiet and a talented skateboarder.

After Lynda Cruz died, the boys lived with family friend and former neighbor Rocxanne Deschamps in Lantana, but Nikolas left the Pompano Beach home after a fight over his guns. Zachary still lives with Deschamps.

Zachary Cruz was booked into Broward’s main jail Monday night.

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