New Florida gun law used on brother of Parkland school shooter

Zachary Cruz, brother of Parkland shooter, arrested for alleged probation violation
Broward County Sheriff via CNN
Zachary Cruz

Authorities are trying to restrict Zachary Cruz, the younger brother of Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz, from having access to guns by using a new Florida law that passed in the aftermath of the school massacre.

On Tuesday, Broward County Sheriff’s Office filed for a “red flag” risk protection order that, if granted by a court, would let law enforcement temporarily seize firearms from Zachary Cruz and prevent him from getting new ones.

Zachary Cruz, 18, was arrested Monday in Parkland for trespassing at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where his older brother killed 17 people. Cruz had told deputies that it was his third visit to the school since the February 14 shooting, prosecutors said.

On Tuesday, a Florida judge set Cruz’s bond at $500,000 for a misdemeanor trespassing charge and required a psychological evaluation.

Cruz’s defense attorney argued in court that his client was being punished for his brother’s crime with a $500,000 bond, when the amount is usually $25 for misdemeanor trespassing.

On the same day, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office filed the risk protection order to restrict his access to guns using a part of the new Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, which went into effect earlier this month.

If the risk protection order is granted, “it will prohibit Cruz from possessing and acquiring firearms for a period of time to be determined by the court,” according to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office.

The law lets a law enforcement officer temporarily seize firearms from someone they’re already taking into custody for an involuntary mental health assessment.

The judge on Tuesday also ruled that deputies will be allowed to search Cruz’s home in Lantana, Florida, for guns.

Questions about after-school security

That Cruz had entered campus for what appeared to be the third time raised questions about safety at Stoneman Douglas.

“It is sort of weird to think about it. Like, we have all this police on campus, and still he got on and was able to skateboard around like that,” student Ryan LoFurno told CNN affiliate WSVN.

According to arrest records, Cruz had “surpassed all locked doors and gates” at the campus despite prior warnings not to enter by school officials, and was arrested around 4:50 p.m. Monday. He has no ties to Broward County, the arrest record noted. He told police he wanted to “reflect on the school shooting and soak it in.”

“Next time he wants to go soak in stuff, he can come to my house,” Andrew Pollack, whose daughter, Meadow, was killed in the school shooting, told WSVN. “I’m not focused on one individual. I’m focused on lots of individuals that shouldn’t be allowed to go onto a school campus.”

The school called parents with a message about new after-school security plans, WSVN reported.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday offered to provide extra security at the school following several unrelated incidents — a deputy was suspended for appearing to fall asleep on duty there, two students were charged for allegedly bringing weapons to campus, and another student for allegedly making a threat of violence on social media.

Zachary Cruz was ordered by the court to wear an ankle monitor. He has also been instructed to have no contact with Stoneman Douglas students or staff, to stay at least a mile away from the school and to have no contact with his brother.