Nikolas Cruz, 19, stood silent under harsh courtroom lighting on Wednesday. His hands and feet were shackled. He was wearing the orange prison jumpsuit. Footage shows his blue eyes cast near-constantly downward. The crown of his brown hair facing the cameras.
He was in court facing a 34-count indictment over allegations he took an Uber to his former high school in Florida on February 14, calmly entered the school, and opened fire with a semi-automatic weapon.
He allegedly killed 17 in total, including students and teachers, and injured several more.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. And, though defence lawyers say he will plead ‘guilty’ if execution is taken off the table, CBS News reports, the Broward County State Attorney is not backing down.
Now, those of us who watched the shooting and its aftermath in astounded horror, are afforded a glimpse inside the mind of the 19-year-old teen who was allegedly angry enough, hateful enough, to inflict so much pain.
The woman who took Cruz and his brother in when their mother died has spoken about Cruz’ long-standing fascination with firearms; his immense depression; and an incident in which he put a gun to his mother’s head.
At a news conference in New York City on Tuesday, Roxanne Deschamps spoke publicly about what happened when Cruz lived with her and her family in their home near Lantana, Florida for almost a month in 2016, Sun Sentinel reports.
During his stay, Deschamps called the police three times. Once when she found the receipt of a gun purchase; then, when she found Cruz digging a hole in the backyard, attempting to bury a gun box; and finally, when her own son caught Cruz punching holes in the wall and Cruz turned on him, too.
“I told them about the warning signs,” Deschamps said. “I was very concerned that the gun, which he had purchased, might be brought into my house or that he might get the gun and use it to harm himself or others. Law enforcement said that nothing could be done.”
Woman Who Took In Nikolas Cruz Before Parkland Shooting Feared His Interest In Guns https://t.co/XF1c6v0icC
— NPR (@NPR) March 21, 2018