Florida Shooter Confesses, Lawyer Labels Him 'Broken Human Being'
Nikolas Cruz, the man accused of perpetrating a mass shooting in a Florida high school on Wednesday that left at least 17 people dead, has reportedly confessed to the crime.
According to a report from the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, Cruz confessed to being the shooter, and told interrogators that he “began shooting students that he saw in the hallways and on school grounds.”
Cruz also admitted that he “brought additional loaded magazines to the school campus and kept them hidden in a backpack until he got on campus to begin his assault,” the report read, according to The Associated Press.
As The Western Journal reported, the 19-year-old is facing charges for 17 counts of premeditated murder after he allegedly opened fire with an AR-15 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in South Florida, killing at least 17 people.
Cruz made his first appearance in court late Thursday afternoon via a live video feed.
When asked by the judge if he understood the circumstances of the situation, he responded, “Yes, ma’am.”
The judge ordered Cruz to be held without bond, and following the hearing, his public defender said he feels remorse for his alleged actions.
Calling him a “broken human being,” attorney Melisa McNeill said Cruz understands the impact the shooting has had.
“When your brain is not fully developed, you don’t know how to deal with these things,” McNeill told MSNBC, according to The New York Times. “That’s the child I’m sitting across from. He’s sad. He’s mournful. He’s remorseful. He is fully aware of what is going on, and he’s just a broken human being.”
Meanwhile, more details are emerging that have shed light on the events that led up to the shooting.
The Cruz family lawyer, Jim Lewis, told CNN that most weekday mornings, Cruz would get a ride to adult education classes that he had been attending in the wake of his mothers death. On Wednesday morning, though, he refused to go because it was Valentine’s Day.
Later in the day, Cruz traveled to Stoneman Douglas High School in an Uber.
Though it’s still unclear what exactly led Cruz to allegedly carry out the shooting, Jordan Jereb — the leader of a white nationalist militia — said Thursday that Cruz was a member of his group.
Jereb’s organization, the Republic of Florida, wants Florida to “become its own white ethno-state,” according to the AP.
Though the group tries to to avoid most involvement with the modern world, Jereb told the AP that they hold “spontaneous random demonstrations.” Cruz, Jereb said, used to participate in paramilitary drills with the white nationalist group in Tallahassee.
Jereb did not know Cruz personally, but he did note that the suspected killer was having “trouble with a girl.” As a result, he thinks it was no coincidence that the attack was carried out on Valentine’s Day.
Still, Jereb emphasized that Cruz “acted on his own behalf of what he just did and he’s solely responsible for what he just did.”
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