Brother of Parkland shooting suspect trespassed at school 'to soak it in'

Counselors deputy wanted Nikolas Cruz institutionalized long before Florida school massacre

Zachary Cruz, 18, the brother of the shooter who killed 17 students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was arrested Monday for trespassing at the Parkland school, officials said.

Court documents obtained by the Associated Press show school officials and a sheriff's deputy recommended that Cruz be involuntarily committed for a mental evaluation in September 2016.

At the time when school officials said they would initiate Baker Act commitment proceedings against Mr. Cruz, he apparently did not own any weapon other than a pellet gun.

Cruz is accused of killing 17 people and injuring 17 others during the February attack.

This is a developing story.

That involuntary commitment would have been a serious obstacle or maybe even prevented Cruz from being able to legally obtain the AR-15 rifle used in the Parkland massacre, authorities say. Defendant Cruz stated that he unlawfully entered the school property to "Reflect on the school shooting and soak it all in" referring to the school shooting.

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The resource officer in question was former Broward County sheriff's deputy Scot Peterson, who resigned over his failure to confront Cruz during his half-hour assault on the school.

Despite the warnings and recommendations regarding Cruz's state of mental health, there's no evidence that he was ever committed. That law allows for involuntary commitment for mental health examination for at least three days.

Investigators are still working to determine how Cruz was able to legally purchase an AR-15 rifle a year ago, despite numerous red flags.

Jail records didn't immediately list an attorney for Zachary Cruz. The push to have Cruz committed is new but the documents the AP has seen don't explain why the commitment never happened.

Cruz has been charged with 17 counts of first-degree murder and 17 counts of attempted first-degree murder. The alleged trespassing was captured on CCTV, the report states. He faces the death penalty if convicted, but his public defender Melisa McNeill has said he would plead guilty in return for a life prison sentence. "(Cruz) states that he is better now, reports that he is no longer lonely and states that his grades have gone back up".

Zachary Cruz has been living with a family friend, Rocxanne Deschamps, in Lantana since the death of his mother in November.

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