Parkland gunman's brother arrested for trespassing at Stoneman Douglas

Zachary Cruz went on campus to 'reflect on the school shooting,' deputies say

By Tim Swift - Local10.com Digital Editor

PARKLAND, Fla. - The brother of Parkland gunman Nikolas Cruz was arrested Monday after he went onto the campus of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the Broward Sheriff's Office said.

Zachary Cruz, 18, faces a charge of trespassing. Authorities had previously told Zachary Cruz to avoid the campus.

According to the arrest report, Zachary Cruz told deputies that he went to the campus to "reflect on the school shooting and soak it in." Deputies said security cameras showed him riding his skateboard onto the school grounds, bypassing the campus' locked doors and gates about 4:30 p.m.

Lori Alhadeff, whose daughter, Alyssa, was one of victims, is furious. Alhadeff said the fact that he even got on school property is cause for concern. 

Zachary Cruz cried when his brother appeared in court.

"How is he able just to skateboard onto campus?" she said.

Deputies said Zachary Cruz had no connection to Broward County. Before the shooting, he lived with family friends in Palm Beach County.

Nikolas Cruz, 19, opened fire inside the Parkland high school on Valentine's Day, killing 17 people and wounding more than a dozen others. He is currently being held at the Broward County jail in Fort Lauderdale, awaiting trial. 

Late Monday, Zachary Cruz was the being held in the same jail on a $25 bond.

After the shooting, people close to Zachary Cruz said he wanted to harm himself, and he underwent a mental health evaluation. Zachary Cruz has denied that he wanted to harm himself. 

Last week, Zachary Cruz attended a court hearing for his brother in Fort Lauderdale. Sitting with his caretaker, Roxanne Deschamps, Zachary Cruz cried as his older brother was brought into the courtroom.

The Cruz brothers, who share the same mother, were adopted as babies by Lynda and Roger Cruz. 

Roger Cruz died when the brothers were young boys while Lynda Cruz passed away in November after being hospitalized for pneumonia.

Zachary and Nikolas Cruz went to live with Deschamps, a family friend, in Lantana after their mother's death. However, Nikolas Cruz moved out in January after the family would not allow him to have weapons in the home.

According to investigators from Palm Beach and Broward counties, Zachary Cruz told authorities that he and his friends had bullied his older brother, something he now regrets.

A detective wrote in one of the reports that Zachary Cruz wishes that he had been nicer to his brother and may have had some resentment because Nikolas Cruz may have been the "favored brother."

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