19-year-old Nikolas Cruz was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder on February 15 after killing 17 students and teachers on February 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
“He’s [Cruz] sad, he’s mournful, he’s remorseful,” defense lawyer Melissa McNeil. “He is fully aware of what is going on, and he’s just a broken human being.”
The massacre is the second deadliest school shooting in the history of the United States
“Our entire nation, with one heavy heart, is praying for the victims and their families,” United States president Donald Trump said. “To every parent, teacher, and child who is hurting so badly, we are here for you. We are all joined together as one American family.”
Cruz was a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and locals said there was something off about Cruz.
“I don’t even know how to put it into words, but he [Cruz] was always the odd man out,” surviving student Noah Kaufman said. “If you were to put 100 kids in front of me and [I] have to pick one that would possibly do something this horrible, it would be him, sadly.”
The shooting began at 2:21 PM, during the last class period of the day.
“We hear the first gunshot echo through the hallways, and our first response was, ‘That sounded a lot like a gunshot,’” surviving student David Hogg said. “We thought this was a drill initially because we’ve been having rumors that there’s going to be a code red [active shooter] drill for a while.”
At 2:27 PM, Cruz stopped shooting and attempted to blend into a group of exiting students.
“As we were making our way out of the building, security was telling us that it was a code red,” surviving teacher Melissa Fulkowski said. “The kids, some of them, were hysterical from moment one.”
Cruz was arrested at 3:41 PM by police officer Michael Leonard.
“He looked like a typical high school student and for a quick moment, I thought, ‘Could this be the person?’” Leonard said. “[My] training kicked in. I pulled my vehicle over immediately, engaged the suspect. He [Cruz] complied with my commands and was taken into custody without any issues.”
Dozens were injured and 17 killed, including three staff members.
“There are some really harrowing tales here,” Democratic Senator Lauren Book said. “It’s in those quiet moments that the reality of this stuff, without all the noise sets in.”
On April 20th, students all around the United States are planning a national high school walkout to encourage Congress to amend the gun laws in order to prevent more school shootings.
“This [gun laws] is not acceptable,” Hogg said. “We can say all these great things like condolences and we’re so sorry for your loss; it is obviously important, but what we need at this point is not to say that anymore because there shouldn’t be any more children that die. We need to take action.”