Cruz can even plead guilty to 17 counts of tried first-degree homicide and to attacking a jail guard 9 months after the taking pictures. He was not current throughout the listening to.
The trial has been delayed by the pandemic and arguments between the prosecution and protection over what proof and testimony could possibly be offered to the jury. Some victims’ households had expressed frustration over the delays, however the president of the group they shaped expressed aid that the case now appears nearer to decision.
“We just hope the system gives him justice,” mentioned Tony Montalto of Stand With Parkland. His 14-year-old daughter, Gina, died within the taking pictures.
In the aftermath of the taking pictures, Parkland pupil activists shaped March for Our Lives, a gaggle that rallied lots of of 1000’s across the nation for tighter gun legal guidelines, together with a nationally televised march in Washington, D.C. Parents additionally made impassioned pleas for accountability and insurance policies aimed toward halting gun violence.
The choice by Cruz and his attorneys to plead guilty got here unexpectedly. Preparations had been being made to start jury choice throughout the subsequent few months. He had been set to go on trial subsequent week for the attack on the Broward County jail guard.
Cruz and his legal professionals had lengthy provided to plead guilty in change for a life sentence, however prosecutors had repeatedly rejected that deal, saying the case deserved a dying sentence.
Cruz’s rampage crushed the veneer of security in Parkland, an upper-middle-class neighborhood exterior Fort Lauderdale with little crime. Its instructional crown jewel is Stoneman Douglas, a campus of three,200 college students that is likely one of the top-ranked public colleges within the state.
Cruz was a longtime, but troubled resident. Broward sheriff’s deputies had been often known as to the house in an upscale neighborhood he shared along with his widowed mom and youthful brother for disturbances, however they mentioned nothing was ever reported that might have led to his arrest. A state fee that investigated the taking pictures agreed.
Cruz alternated between conventional colleges and people for troubled college students.
He attended Stoneman Douglas beginning in tenth grade, however his troubles remained — at one level, he was prohibited from carrying a backpack to make sure that he didn’t carry a weapon. Still, he was allowed to take part on the school’s rifle workforce.
He was expelled a few year earlier than the assault after quite a few incidents of surprising habits and not less than one combat. He started posting movies on-line during which he threatened to commit violence, together with on the school. It was about this time he bought the AR-15 semiautomatic rifle he would use within the taking pictures.
When Cruz’s mom died of pneumonia in 2017, 4 months earlier than the taking pictures, he started staying with mates, taking his 10 weapons with him.
Someone, fearful about his emotional state, known as the FBI a month earlier than the taking pictures to warn brokers he may kill folks. The data was by no means forwarded to the company’s South Florida office and Cruz was by no means investigated or contacted.
Another acquaintance known as the Broward Sheriff’s Office with an analogous warning, however when the deputy discovered Cruz was then dwelling with a household pal in neighboring Palm Beach County he instructed the caller to contact that sheriff’s office.
In the weeks earlier than the taking pictures, Cruz started making movies proclaiming he was going to be the “next school shooter of 2018.”
The taking pictures occurred on Valentine’s Day, minutes earlier than the top of the school day. Students had exchanged presents and plenty of had been wearing pink.
Cruz, then 19, arrived on the campus that afternoon in an Uber, assembled his rifle in a rest room after which opened fireplace on college students and workers members, the smoke from his rifle setting off the fireplace alarm.
Outside the constructing, sheriff’s deputy Scot Peterson, the school’s longtime useful resource officer, heard the photographs however didn’t enter the constructing — he drew his gun and hid behind a column and wall, video exhibits. He instructed investigators he didn’t know the place the photographs had been coming from, however they mentioned his radio transmissions present he did.
Peterson has been charged with felony youngster neglect for allegedly failing to defend the scholars and perjury for allegedly mendacity to investigators. He has pleaded not guilty and resigned shortly after the taking pictures earlier than he could possibly be fired.
Cruz finally dropped his rifle and fled, mixing in along with his victims as cops arrived and stormed the constructing. He was captured about an hour later strolling by way of a residential neighborhood. Later that evening, he confessed to detectives.
A state investigation discovered quite a few safety lapses not simply at Stoneman Douglas however at colleges statewide. The taking pictures led to a state legislation that requires all Florida public colleges to have an armed guard on campus throughout class hours.