$500K bond for Parkland shooting suspect’s brother in school trespass
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A judge set an unusually high $500,000 bond on Tuesday and imposed a host of other restrictions for the brother of the Florida school shooting suspect, who was charged with trespassing at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
A prosecutor said that Zachary Cruz, 18, expressed admiration for his brother Nikolas Cruz’s fame since the Feb. 14 shooting and that they had discussed whether it might attract girls and pen pals.
“He has been heard observing how popular (Nikolas’) name is now,” said Assistant State Attorney Sarahnell Murphy at a hearing.
“Weeks after his brother murdered, injured and terrorized at the school, (Zachary) was there,” she said. “Many (parents) kept their children home today. They have again been terrorized.”
Prosecutors said it was the third time he had visited the campus even though he was warned to stay away.
Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested Zachary Cruz on Monday afternoon, saying he rode his skateboard onto the campus. He is in the same Fort Lauderdale jail where Nikolas Cruz is housed.
Joseph Kimok, who is representing Zachary Cruz, said the bond and conditions were far out of proportion to the trespassing offense.
“He is being held for who he is related to, not for anything he did,” Kimok said.
Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie has called Zachary Cruz’s actions odd. “I understand it does creep people out,” he said.
According to an arrest report, Zachary Cruz told officers he came to the school to “reflect on the school shooting and soak it all in.” He did not resist arrest and the report made no mention of any weapons.
Trespassing is a misdemeanor that usually carries only a $25 bond. But Murphy asked for $750,000 and a host of conditions, most of which the judge approved.
Broward County Judge Kim Theresa Mollica ordered Zachary Cruz to wear a GPS ankle monitor and stay away from schools — particularly Stoneman Douglas High — if he is released.
The judge also ordered a search for weapons and ammunition at the Palm Beach County home where he is living with a family friend and he is not to visit his brother in jail.
Zachary and Nikolas shared the same biological mother but had different fathers. Both were adopted at very young ages by Roger and Lynda Cruz, who moved them into their Parkland home. Lynda Cruz died in November and their father died some years earlier.
Zachary Cruz, who turned 18 a week after the school shooting, has been living in Lantana, Florida, with a family friend, Rocxanne Deschamps, since their mother’s death.
Deschamps was scheduled Tuesday to hold a news conference in New York City with her attorney, the well-known lawyer Gloria Allred, about why she took the boys in.
Nikolas Cruz was living with a different family when the Stoneman Douglas shooting took place. His attorney has said he will plead guilty to 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder if prosecutors will waive the death penalty, which they have refused to do.
Police records show Zachary Cruz has also had a troubled life, including a juvenile arrest record for theft. His mother, Lynda Cruz, made frequent calls to the Broward Sheriff’s Office about him running away, refusing to go to school, being rude and disrespectful and attempting to break things in their Parkland home. Some of the calls go back to when Zachary was 11 years old.