77ºF

BSO releases bodycam footage of Zachary Cruz arrest

'I just wanted to take it all in,' Cruz tells deputies

PARKLAND, Fla. – The Broward Sheriff's Office released bodycam footage Friday that shows deputies arresting the younger brother of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School gunman Nikolas Cruz after he allegedly trespassed on campus for at least the third time.

"I just wanted to take it all in," Zachary Cruz, 18, is seen on video telling deputies.

According to audio dispatch recording, a student approached a deputy Monday after spotting Zachary Cruz skateboarding on campus.

In the video, it appears that deputies were going to let the young man go with a trespassing warning, but arrested him after learning from school administrators that he has trespassed on school property multiple times since the Feb. 14 shooting that left 17 people dead.

Zachary Cruz appeared to be cooperative and polite while speaking with deputies, handing over his backpack to them to search, which he told them had extra clothes inside.

Deputies asked him whether he was living out of the backpack. He said he wasn't and that he was unemployed at the moment but was going to school. 

Zachary Cruz was initially held on just a $25 bond, but a Broward County judge raised the bail to $500,000 after prosecutor Sarahnell Murphy argued that Zachary Cruz had been to the campus multiple times and had disturbing conversations with his brother -- conversations discussing how "popular" his brother now was, how his face is well-known across the country and discussing the possibility of starting a fan club for Nikolas Cruz.

The prosecutor said Zachary Cruz also has a criminal history from 2016 for charges of grand theft, petty theft and criminal mischief. 

Judge Kim Theresa Mollica ordered that Zachary Cruz be placed on house arrest with a GPS monitor if he posts bail.

She also ordered that he stay at least 1 mile away from Stoneman Douglas, not return to Broward County unless it's for a court appearance or to speak with his attorneys, stay at least 500 feet away from any school or child care facility and not have any direct or indirect contact with his brother.

Mollica also ordered that Zachary Cruz's home in Lake Worth be searched by authorities for any weapons or ammunition before he returns home. 

Zachary Cruz's attorney released a statement Friday, saying the video proves his client is not a threat to the public.

"The body camera video recently released by the Broward Sheriff's Office of the arrest of Zachary Cruz shows what we have been saying all along. Zachary was polite. He was cooperative. He had already left school grounds at the time he was stopped," attorney Joseph Kimok said. "The officers initially were not even going to arrest him. In Zachary's possession was a skateboard, a juice drink, a backpack and some clothes.

"He did not say or do anything that would even remotely suggest he was a threat to anyone. This video fully supports our position that Zachary should not be incarcerated and we are hopeful for his quick release."     


About the Author: