Parkland school shooting suspect's brother arrested for allegedly trespassing at Stoneman Douglas

20 March, 2018, 03:20 | Author: Andrea Terry
  • Parkland school shooting suspect's brother arrested for allegedly trespassing at Stoneman Douglas

Zachary Cruz, 18, told deputies he went to the campus of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to "reflect on the school shooting and soak it in", according to the arrest report.

Under Florida's Baker Act, Peterson, as a Broward Sheriff's deputy, had the authority to initiate Cruz's commitment to an involuntary mental health evaluation for at least three days.

Such drastic measures could have potentially prevented or made it more hard for Cruz to buy the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle that he used in his Valentine's Day rampage through the school that he was expelled from. While Nikolas Cruz had fights with these people and ultimately left the home, staying with another family before the shooting, his brother is described in police records after the rampage as remaining with them.

This is a developing story.

Such an involuntary commitment would also have been a high obstacle if not a complete barrier to legally obtaining a firearm, such as the AR-15 rifle used in the Stoneman Douglas massacre on February 14, authorities say.

School staff and Peterson, then serving as Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School's assigned resource officer, had also observed Cruz exhibit disturbing behavior.

Cruz could have forcibly been committed for mental evaluation under Florida's Baker Act.

Parkland school shooting suspect's brother arrested for allegedly trespassing at Stoneman Douglas

Despite the officials' concerns, there is no evidence that Cruz was involuntarily committed.

The report said Zachary Cruz had no connections to Broward County at this time.

Under Florida's Baker Act, involuntary commitment of a person may be initiated by an official, including a judge, mental health physician or law enforcement officer, such as Peterson.

David S. Weinstein, a former federal prosecutor, said that an involuntary commitment would have been a huge red flag had Cruz attempted to buy a firearm legally.

Five days earlier, on September 23, Ms. Cruz had summoned a different Henderson clinician to her home because Mr. Cruz was verbally aggressive and "punching holes in the wall". The alleged trespassing was captured on CCTV, the report states.

Cruz, 19, is charged in a 34-count indictment with killing 17 people and wounding 17 others in the attack. "(Cruz) states that he is better now, reports that he is no longer lonely and states that his grades have gone back up". He faces the death penalty if convicted.


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