Park­land gun­man fac­ing death penalty

Sus­pect charged with 17 first-de­gree mur­der counts in Feb. 14 killings.

The Palm Beach Post - - FRONT PAGE - By Eliot Klein­berg Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

PARK­LAND — Broward County pros­e­cu­tors will ask for the death penalty for con­fessed Park­land gun­man Niko­las Cruz, State At­tor­ney Michael Satz said Tues­day.

Satz said he filed a “no­tice of in­tent to seek death” in the 17 first-de­gree mur­der counts stem­ming from the Feb. 14 ram­page at Mar­jory Stone­man Dou­glas High School that left 14 stu­dents and three adults dead.

Cruz also is charged with at­tempted mur­der in the shoot­ings of 17 oth­ers who sur­vived.

A Broward County grand jury for­mally in­dicted Cruz, 19, on March 7.

Au­thor­i­ties have said that, af­ter the Novem­ber pneu­mo­nia death of Cruz’s mother left Cruz and his younger brother, Zachary, or­phaned, the two moved to the sub­ur­ban Lan­tana home of fam­ily friend Rocx­anne Deschamps.

When Deschamps told Cruz he

could stay only if he got rid of his guns, Cruz moved in late Novem­ber to the north­ern Broward County home of an­other fam­ily that had been friends of the mother.

He was staying there when, au­thor­i­ties say, he took an Uber to the school, armed with an AR-15 as­sault ri­fle and a cache of am­mu­ni­tion, and opened fire.

The mas­sacre, the lat­est of sev­eral in re­cent years, many in schools, has re­opened the twin de­bates about both gun con­trol and men­tal health.

On March 9, Gov. Rick Scott signed his first bill of the leg­isla­tive ses­sion — a sweep­ing law that boosts school safety and re­stricts ac­cess to guns — de­spite it con­tain­ing a pro­gram he op­poses that would al­low some teach­ers to carry con­cealed weapons on cam­puses. The bill makes ma­jor changes to Florida gun laws, in­clud­ing im­pos­ing a three­day wait­ing pe­riod on the pur­chase of any firearm, boost­ing the min­i­mum age to buy a gun to 21 and ban­ning the sale of bump stocks, de­vices meant to make a semi-au­to­matic ri­fle fire like an au­to­matic one. Scott has stopped short of call­ing for a com­plete ban on au­to­matic weapons.

The New York Times also re­ported that a woman who knew Cruz told the FBI a month be­fore the mas­sacre that Cruz pos­sessed an arse­nal of weapons and am­mu­ni­tion, and she wor­ried he might be “get­ting into a school and just shoot­ing the place up.”

“I know he’s go­ing to ex­plode,” the woman said in a call to the FBI’s tip hot­line on Jan. 5. The Broward County Sher­iff ’s Of­fice, which staffs the Park­land po­lice sta­tion, re­ceived a call in Novem­ber from a caller rais­ing sim­i­lar con­cerns about Cruz: that he was col­lect­ing guns and knives, might kill him­self and “could be a school shooter in the mak­ing.” Two deputies have been placed on re­stricted duty while the of­fice in­ves­ti­gates how two calls about Cruz — the one in Novem­ber and an ear­lier one in 2016 — were mis­han­dled

The Broward sher­iff ’s of­fice also has come un­der scru­tiny af­ter re­veal­ing that school re­sources deputy Scot Peter­son, who lives in sub­ur­ban Boyn­ton Beach, stood out­side de­spite hear­ing gun­fire com­ing from within.

Au­thor­i­ties say Cruz, armed with an AR-15 as­sault ri­fle and a cache of am­mu­ni­tion, opened fire.


Con­fessed gun­man Niko­las Cruz makes his ini­tial ap­pear­ance last month in the Feb. 14 ram­page at Mar­jory Stone­man Dou­glas High.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.