Broward County

The Parkland school shooter started throwing up and hyperventilating after being arrested

Confessed Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz is arrested on Feb. 14 after the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Confessed Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz is arrested on Feb. 14 after the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Minutes after being arrested for a gruesome killing spree, the Parkland school shooter had trouble standing up, began to heave and "vomited clear fluid" as a witness prepared to identify him, according to a police report written by the officer who detained him.

When pinpointed as the man who attacked Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland with a semiautomatic rifle earlier that day, Nikolas Cruz then "began to hyperventilate," the incident report states. Paramedics were called as a precaution, according to the report, which was released Thursday by Coconut Creek police.

The report represents the first official account of Cruz's behavior soon after the Feb. 14 massacre. He stands accused of killing 17 students and educators at Stoneman Douglas.

After Cruz ditched his rifle and escaped campus around 2:29 p.m. — eluding a swarm of police officers who converged on the bloody scene — he walked to a nearby Walmart and McDonald's.

At approximately 3:36 p.m., more than an hour after the shooting stopped, Coconut Creek police officer Michael Leonard was searching for the suspect when he saw someone walking on Wyndham Lakes Boulevard in Coral Springs, according to the report.

The man matched the description of the suspect: burgundy shirt, black jeans, military-style boots, dark-colored ball cap and black-framed eyeglasses.

Leonard pulled over, got out of his police car and pointed his service-issued Glock pistol at Cruz.

"Given the magnitude of this crime and not knowing if the subject was still armed, I began to give the subject loud verbal commands," Leonard wrote.

Cruz was "calm" and understood the officer's orders to lie face down in the grass and not move, the report states.

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

At 3:39 p.m., Leonard radioed for backup, keeping his gun trained on Cruz, and another officer soon arrived to handcuff the suspect. They searched Cruz for weapons, found none, and stood guard over him while waiting for a witness to arrive and identify him as the shooter.

At that point, the young man stated that he was having trouble hearing, possibly the result of firing a weapon in an enclosed space without hearing protection, according to the report.

"After approximately 15 to 20 minutes, Cruz began to move his head and eyes, looking in all directions," Leonard wrote. "I assured Cruz he was going to be fine and he immediately calmed down."

But when a witness arrived and the officers helped Cruz to his feet to be identified, the magnitude of what he'd done seemed to jolt Cruz into shock, the report indicates.

"While standing Cruz became weak and required help holding himself up," the report states. "Cruz also began to heave and vomited clear fluid."

A witness then confirmed Cruz was the shooter and he was taken to a hospital by other officers, before going to jail. The witness was a Stoneman Douglas employee who saw Cruz enter the school, according to charging documents.

A plea of not guilty was entered in court for the 19-year-old former Stoneman Douglas student in response to 17 charges of premeditated murder and 17 charges of attempted murder, but his public defender has said Cruz is willing to plead guilty if prosecutors drop the death penalty.

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