Parkland shooter’s actions after school massacre discussed during Day 4 of sentencing trial

On Thursday, the state continued interviewing witnesses, setting the stage for Nikolas Cruz's actions after he fatally shot 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The state spent Thursday’s shorter hearing speaking to more witnesses and discussing how Nikolas Cruz was trying to blend in with the public after fatally shooting 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

Jurors were also shown surveillance video of the shooter inside a Subway restaurant and then inside of a McDonald’s after the shooting on Feb. 14, 2018.

Some of the workers took the stand Thursday, along with John Wilford, who spoke with Cruz inside the McDonald’s.

At the time, Wilford did not know that his sister Maddy had been seriously injured in the mass shooting.

“I saw him sit down so I was just telling him that this is so chaotic. You know, ‘this is crazy,’” Wilford said. “‘All these helicopters and SWAT cars coming -- like what do you think this could be?’ And I don’t remember him saying much ... he wasn’t really talking to me. I don’t remember much of the conversation. I was doing most of the talking.”

“Ok, did he ask you anything?” Assistant State Attorney Michael Satz asked.

“Uh, no, not until I started to leave when my mother called me and told me she was there,” Wilford said.

“OK, what did he ask you?” Satz asked.

“He asked me for a ride,” Wilford said.

Bodycam footage was also shown in court of Cruz later being taken into custody.

Coconut Creek police Officer Michael Leonard, who detained Cruz also testified Thursday. The fathers of Jaime Guttenberg and Alex Schachter, who were killed in the shooting, shook his hand as he was leaving the courtroom.

Cruz has pleaded guilty to killing 17 people and wounding another 17.

The question before the jury is whether he should be executed or spend his life in prison.


About the Authors:

Christina returned to Local 10 in 2019 as a reporter after covering Hurricane Dorian for the station. She is an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist and previously earned an Emmy Award while at WPLG for her investigative consumer protection segment "Call Christina."

Parker Branton joined Local 10 News in January 2019 as a reporter. He was born and raised in Rome, Georgia, but now loves living on the sunny beaches of South Florida.