Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz has been captured on interrogation room video sobbing into his brother’s arms after confessing to murdering 17 people.
Cruz, 19, was interviewed by police just hours after the February 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
During almost 12 hours in the Broward Sheriff’s interrogation room, Cruz confessed to the mass shooting, and told officers he wanted to die – at one point aiming his fingers like a gun at his head – and repeatedly asked for his brother Zachary, 18.
Footage shows Zachary sitting across from his brother, who is handcuffed and in a hospital gown, begging him to explain why he’d gone on the killing spree.
Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz has been captured on interrogation room video sobbing into his brother Zachary’s arms after confessing to murdering 17 people
‘People think you’re a monster now,’ Zachary told him.
‘A monster?’ Cruz asked.
‘This is not who you are,’ Zachary continued. ‘Like, why?
‘Why did you do this?’
He then snapped at Cruz not to laugh at him. The shooter replied ‘I’m sorry dude’ but redactions in the video means it’s not clear if he’s apologizing for laughing or for the mass shooting.
Zachary demanded to know: ‘What do you think mom would think right now if she was …?’
Their mother Lynda, who adopted them as newborns from the same birth mother, died of pneumonia three months before the shooting.
‘She would cry,’ both brothers echoed.
Footage shows Zachary sitting across from his brother, who is handcuffed and in a hospital gown, begging him to explain why he’d gone on the killing spree
‘People think you’re a monster now,’ Zachary told his older brother at one point
Despite the shocking crimes his brother confessed to, Zachary wanted to let his brother know that he was still there for him
When Cruz began crying, Zachary went and hugged him, telling him ‘I’m your brother, I love you’
Despite the shocking crimes his brother confessed to, Zachary wanted to let his brother know that he was still there for him.
‘I know what you did today,’ he told him. ‘Other people look at me like I’m crazy.
‘But I don’t care what other people think, I’m your brother, I love you.’
At that point, Cruz began loudly wailing and so Zachary asked the detective present if he could hug his brother.
The teen wrapped his arms around Cruz who buried his head into his shoulder and began sobbing uncontrollably.
‘You really messed up this time…no one can get you out of this, dog,’ Zachary told him as he cried.
‘I’m sorry,’ Cruz said. ‘I love you.’
The brothers have had a complicated relationship and growing up, Cruz said he was bullied by his younger sibling – something that Zachary touched upon during their 15 minute conversation.
He acknowledged that he ‘made it seem like I didn’t care about you when we were growing up’ and ‘I made it seem like I hate you’ but he explained he’d just been trying to survive.
‘I didn’t want to seem like a… I didn’t want to look weak,’ he said, apologizing for being a ‘dumb jerk.’
‘I love you with all my heart. I’m telling you right now I love you.’
Disturbing video of Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz’s police interrogation was released Wednesday, showing him aiming a fake gun at his head as he pretended to kill himself
He also reminded him of a promise he made after their adoptive mother’s death.
‘I told you when we were walking down the hallway that it’s just me and you and I had your back,’ Zachary said. ‘You probably felt like you had nobody but I, I care about you. I literally would pull my heart out for you.’
The brothers reminisced a little about their childhoods, but the 18-year-old was keen to press Cruz about his repeated threats of suicide.
The gunman has told investigators repeatedly that he wants to die.
And interrogation video, from when he was left alone for a moment, showed Cruz mutter: ‘Kill me, just f***ing kill me.’
Shortly after the shootings Zachary was arrested for trespassing at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School despite being warned to stay away -and was handed six months probation following a no contest plea.
Zachary said he’s cried at the thought of his brother killing himself.
Cruz replied: ‘I’m a failure, dude.’
‘You’re not right in the head,’ said his brother.
‘Just don’t, don’t hurt yourself,’ he urged as detectives told them their time was up.
‘I’ll do it for you,’ Cruz replied.
The video was released by prosecutors on Wednesday.
It was taken minutes after Cruz’s confession to Broward Sheriff’s Detective John Curcio.
The nearly 12 hours of video show Cruz and Broward Sheriff’s Detective John Curcio in a police interrogation room, with the camera angle from above
Much of their conversation focused on what the 19-year-old insisted was a voice he had been hearing for years that told him things like ‘burn, kill, destroy’
The nearly 12 hours of video of the interview has been were edited to remove Cruz’s direct confession.
He claims a demonic voice in his head urged him to do violence.
The video appeared to show an agitated, on edge Cruz trying to get his emotions under control.
At one point when Cruz is left alone in the room, the video shows him making a gun motion with his hand, raising it his head and pretending to pull the trigger. Later, he is seen punching himself hard in the face with both hands and occasionally scratching at his right arm with a small object he picked up off the floor.
Much of the conversation between Cruz and the detective focused on what the 19-year-old insisted was a voice he had been hearing for years that told him things like ‘burn, kill, destroy’.
At one point when Cruz is left alone in the room, he was captured on camera repeatedly making a gun motion with his hand and pretending to shoot himself in the head and chest.
The video and redacted 200-page transcript of Cruz’s post-shooting statement were released after a judge ruled last month that non-confession portions should be made public.
Cruz made the 12-hour statement to Curcio shortly after the February 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
Details of the shooting are blacked out, but the transcript is wide-ranging, dealing with the death of Cruz’s parents, his penchant for killing animals, his former girlfriend, his brother, guns, suicide attempts and, especially, the voice.
The detective asked if the supposed voice had given specific instructions related to the massacre, including the fact that Cruz took an Uber to the high school.
Curcio asked: ‘The voice didn’t tell you to take Uber, right?’
Cruz replied: ‘Yes, it did.’
The teenager went on to say that he had tried to kill himself twice before the massacre because the voice had told him to.
He tried to overdose on ibuprofen after the death of his mother in November. He told Curcio the voice appeared after his father died about 15 years ago but got worse after his mother died in November.
Cruz described the voice as a male, about his age, and that the only person he ever told about it was his brother.
Cruz also admitted to taking drugs like Xanax and marijuana.
According to the transcript, Cruz told the detective he bought the AR-15 for $560 from a gun shop and purchased the ammunition online. He estimated spending about $4,000 on weaponry. He said he bought the rifle because it was ‘cool looking’.
When he was left alone again in the interview room, Cruz told himself: ‘I want to die’.
The transcript of Cruz’s interrogation (seen here in April) shows that he spat out ‘kill me’ and cursed as he sat alone in a sheriff’s interrogation room hours after the massacre
Zachary Cruz (pictured) was initially arrested after his brother’s mass shooting but was later released
‘At the end, you’re nothing but worthless s**t, dude. You deserve to die because you’re f***ing worthless and you f***ing (unintelligible) everyone. I want to die.’
Cruz’s attorneys have said he would plead guilty in exchange for a sentence of life without parole. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
The release of the interrogation details came as Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri told the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission on Wednesday that Cruz’s behavior before the shooting was a ‘roller-coaster’.
He said Cruz’s fluctuating behavior through the years made it difficult for school officials to determine how he should be handled.
‘It was really a roller-coaster with Cruz really from birth,’ Gualtieri said.
A report released last week by the Broward County school district said he began showing behavioral issues that got him kicked out of pre-kindergarten. He spent his school years shuttling between regular campuses and those for children with emotional and behavioral problems.
‘He had some really bad low times but at times he was without behavioral issues,’ Gualtieri said.
Gualtieri said there were times in middle school and at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that Cruz’s behavior ‘dive-bombed,’ and he required an escort to monitor him.
He didn’t go into details, but it has been previously reported that Cruz got into fights, committed vandalism, cursed teachers and drew a swastika on his backpack. Administrators conducted a threat assessment of him in 2016, about five months before he was kicked out of the school.