He allegedly bypassed the campus’s locked doors and gates despite previous warnings by school officials to stay off the property, officials said.
Broward County prosecutors last week said they would seek a death sentence for Nikolas Cruz, who was indicted by a grand jury this month on 34 counts of premeditated murder and attempted murder in the Feb. 14 massacre, which killed 17 people and injured the same number.
Zachary Cruz, who Broward County officials said has no ties to the area, was interviewed by detectives from multiple law enforcement agencies after the Feb. 14 massacre, according to police records. A Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office detective wrote in a report two days later that Zachary Cruz expressed remorse regarding the shooting and how he had treated his brother.
Cruz is described as feeling “somewhat responsible and guilty” about the shooting rampage because he and his friends had bullied Nikolas Cruz when they were all younger, “which he now regrets ever doing,” the detective wrote in the report.
“Zachary wishes that he had been ‘nicer’ to his brother,” the report stated.
The detective wrote that Cruz apparently felt some resentment toward his sibling, who was viewed as “the favored brother.”
The brothers were adopted by Lynda and Roger Cruz when Nikolas was 2 and Zachary was 2 months old, friends and relatives said. Relatives said Nikolas and Zachary shared a biological mother but have different fathers.
Another report from the same day said Cruz was visited by the Broward County and Palm Beach County sheriff’s officers regarding a Crime Stoppers tip they had received. The details of this tip were redacted from the report.
After speaking with Cruz, the Broward sheriff’s officer determined the tip was “only rumor at this time and that no further action was going to be taken regarding the tip,” according to a Palm Beach sheriff’s report.
The shooting has led to several investigations into how officials handled warnings about Nikolas Cruz beforehand and how they reacted to the shooting when it occurred. Authorities on the local, state and federal level, for example, are examining how the FBI and Broward County Sheriff’s Office responded to repeated warnings about Cruz’s potential for carrying out a school shooting, and whether sheriff’s deputies remained outside the school during the shooting, as some officers have alleged.
The Cruz brothers both stayed with friends in Lantana, in Palm Beach County, Fla., after their mother died. While Nikolas Cruz had fights with these people and ultimately left the home, staying with another family before the shooting, his brother is described in police records as remaining with them.
According to jail visitor logs, in the wake of the shooting Zachary Cruz visited his brother at least twice, along with the woman the brothers stayed with after their mother died.