A Florida man has pleaded guilty to murdering 17 people in a 2018 mass shooting at a high school campus in Parkland, Florida. Nikolas Cruz, 23, also pleaded guilty to 17 counts of attempted murder for those he injured in the attack on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
He faces the possibility of the death penalty or life in prison. One of the deadliest school shootings in US history, the incident became a rallying cry for gun control activists.
Who is Nikolas Cruz?
Mr Cruz was 19-years-old when he shot dead 14 students and three employees with an AR-15 rifle at his former school. Another 17 people were wounded.
The case will now head to a penalty trial in which jurors must determine whether Mr Cruz is spared the death penalty to face life without parole.
Nikolas Cruz Height & Weight
How tall is Nikolas Cruz? He stands tall with a height of 5 feet 7 inches and weighs about 59 kilos. He is a fitness freak as well. He has blonde hair and has light brown eyes.
Nikolas Cruz Charges
Mr Cruz had been expelled from the school in 2017. Students and staff later described him as an “outcast” and troublemaker.
He had previously been investigated by local police and the Department of Children and Family Services after posting evidence of self-harm on the Snapchat app.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) later admitted it did not properly follow up on a tip-off about Mr Cruz the month before the shooting.
Many of the shooting’s survivors went on to become prominent advocates for gun legislation reform and have demanded that action be taken to prevent similar incidents.
In an event marking the third anniversary of the shooting in February, US President Joe Biden called for Congress to pass gun law reforms, including a ban on assault weapons and an end to legal immunity for gun manufacturers.
“We owe it to all those we’ve lost and to all those left behind to grieve to make a change,” Mr Biden said. “The time to act is now.”
Nikolas Cruz Wiki/Biography
|Real Name||Nikolas Cruz|
|Age||19 years old (As of 2021)|
|Height||5 feet 7 inches|
|Measurements||Will be updated|
|Biceps Size||Will be updated|
|Parents||Lynda and Roger Cruz|
|Net Worth||Will be updated|
Who are Nikolas Cruz Parents?
After his birth, Nicholas was promptly adopted by Lynda and Roger Cruz. He was born on September 24th, 1998, in Margate, Florida.
Nikolas was raised by his adoptive family in Parkland, Florida. Roger departed this world while Nikolas was still a youngster, and Lynda died two months before the 2018 Parkland massacre.
After the death of their first child, Lynn and Roger adopted his brother, Zachary. He is now 21 years old.
Nikolas Cruz Biological Parents
Brenda Woodard is the mother of Nikolaos. The identity of his biological father has not been revealed to the press.
Brenda has a lengthy criminal record that includes convictions for battery, grand theft, and drug possession going back to 1988, according to the Sun.
Brenda was said to live hundreds of miles away from Nikolas, in various spots in Broward County.
Nikolas and his brother Zachary have a half-sister called Daniella, who is 31 years old.
Nikolas Cruz Facts
Nikolas Cruz Pleads Guilty to 2018 Parkland School Massacre.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz crosses the courtroom in handcuffs at the Broward County Courthouse on October 20, 2021 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
As of Oct 2021, Cruz pleaded guilty to all 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in the 2018 shooting in Parkland, Florida.
Relatives of the victims who sat in the courtroom and watched the hearing via Zoom broke down in tears and held hands across families as Cruz entered his pleas and later apologized for his crimes.
The guilty pleas will set the stage for a penalty trial in which 12 jurors will determine whether Cruz, 23, should be sentenced to death or life in prison without parole. Given the case’s notoriety, Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer plans to screen thousands of prospective jurors. Jury selection is scheduled to begin on Jan. 4.
Cruz entered his pleas after answering a long list of questions from Scherer aimed at confirming his mental competency. He was charged with 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted first-degree murder for those wounded in the Feb. 14, 2018, attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, located just outside Fort Lauderdale.
As several parents shook their heads, Cruz apologized, saying, “I’m very sorry for what I did. … I can’t live with myself sometimes.” He also added that he wished it was up to the survivors to determine whether he lived or died.
Parents scoffed at Cruz’s statement as they left the courtroom, saying it seemed self-serving and aimed at eliciting unearned sympathy. Gena Hoyer, whose 15-year-old son Luke died in the shooting, saw it as part of a defense strategy “to keep a violent, evil person off death row.”
She said her son was “a sweet young man who had a life ahead of him and the person you saw in there today chose to take his life. He does not deserve life in prison.”
Anthony Borges, a former Stoneman Douglas student who was shot five times and severely wounded, told reporters after the hearing that he accepted Cruz’s apology, but noted that it was not up to him to decide the confessed murderer’s fate.
“He made a decision to shoot the school,” Borges said. “I am not God to make the decision to kill him or not. That’s not my decision. My decision is to be a better person and to change the world for every kid. I don’t want this to happen to anybody again. It hurts. It hurts. It really hurts. So, I am just going to keep going. That’s it.”
Cruz’s attorneys announced his intention to plead guilty during a hearing last week.