Published: Tue, March 20, 2018
Global Media | By Jackie Banks

Parkland suspect's brother arrested, accused of trespassing at school

Parkland suspect's brother arrested, accused of trespassing at school

Zachary Cruz, brother of suspected Florida high school shooter Nikolas Cruz, is shown in this booking photo, after being arrested at the school where 17 people were shot dead last month, according to the Broward County Sheriff's Office, in Parkland, Florida, U.S., March 19, 2018. The demonstration on Wednesday was an act of protest against the lack of gun legislation after 17 students were killed by gunman Nikolas Cruz. In addition, 17 people were wounded.

Doing so would have made it hard or even impossible for Cruz to legally buy a gun. They show school officials and a sheriff's deputy recommended in September 2016 that Cruz be involuntarily committed for a mental evaluation.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the documents, which are part of Cruz's criminal case in the shooting, show that he had written the word "kill" in a notebook, told a classmate that he wanted to buy a gun and use it, and had cut his arm supposedly in anger because he had broken up with a girlfriend. That law allows for involuntary commitment for mental health examination for at least three days.

The latest revelation adds to a long list of shocking oversights by law enforcement and other authorities who were warned of Cruz' disturbing behavior.

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There is no evidence to suggest the teen was ever taken into the care of mental health professionals, however, reports from AP suggest that if such action had been taken, Cruz may have been prevented from buying a firearm such as the AR-15 rifle that was used on the school shooting.

Zachary Cruz, 18, who was arrested at 4:30 p.m. Monday afternoon, allegedly rode his skateboard through school grounds, according to the Broward Sheriff's Office. The clinic sent a mobile assistance team to Stoneman Douglas High on September 28, 2016, the records show, because Mr. Cruz had made threats and exhibited disturbing behavior following a breakup with a girlfriend.

But Deputy Peterson apparently changed his mind about the commitment request the next day. He also admitted to cutting his arm with a pencil sharpener. A plea of not guilty was entered on his behalf, though defense attorney Melisa McNeill emphasized that Nikolas Cruz is willing "at any time" to plead guilty "in exchange for a waiver of the death sentence" and instead spend the rest of his life behind bars.

It's not clear from the documents who the recommendation was forwarded to or why it was not followed up.

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