Police release video of shooting suspect
Prosecutors on Wednesday released hours of video interrogation of Florida’s school-shooting suspect, footage showing the young man slouching in a chair, being repeatedly urged by a detective to speak louder and punching himself in the face when he is alone.
The footage contained the same material as a transcript released earlier in the week, and both were edited to remove what authorities say was a direct confession by Nikolas Cruz to the Feb. 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
In other developments, a sheriff leading the state commission investigating the massacre said Wednesday that the suspect’s behavior before the shooting was a “roller-coaster,” where he would have stretches of good conduct before it deteriorated.
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri told the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission that Cruz’s fluctuating behavior through the years made it difficult for school officials to determine how he should be handled. Cruz, a 19-year-old former student at Stoneman Douglas, is charged with killing 17 people in the Valentine’s Day attack there.
“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.
The video made public Wednesday shows Cruz hunched over at times, leaning back at others. He is seen wearing hospital clothes and speaking so softly at the beginning that Broward Sheriff’s Detective John Curcio has to repeatedly urge him to talk louder. At one point shortly after entering a small interrogation room, the detective asks Cruz: “You all right? Got to be able to speak so I can hear you.”
At one point, with the police out of the room, the video shows Cruz take two fingers, put them to his left temple and pretend to pull a trigger. He gave a little shake after doing this. Later, he is seen punching himself hard in the face with both hands.
At another point with Curcio out of the room, Cruz mutters, “Kill me,” and then, later, “I want to die.”