Grand Jury Indicts Nikolas Cruz With 34 Counts Of Murder In Mass Shooting in Stoneman Douglas High

Mar 8, 2018
Originally published on March 8, 2018 5:53 am

Confessed-Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz has been officially indicted by a Florida grand jury, the Broward State Attorney’s office announced in a statement Wednesday.

Cruz has been charged with 17 counts of first-degree, premeditated, murder for those who died in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting on Feb. 14, 2018. 

The grand jury also charged Cruz with 17 additional counts of attempted first-degree murder for those injured in the shooting.

The case will be prosecuted by Broward State Attorney Michael J. Satz.

Cruz, 19, is accused of a carrying out the Feb. 14 rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where 17 students and staff died, and at least a dozen more injured.

According to Florida law, if Cruz is convicted of first-degree murder, prosecutors could seek the death penalty, though the Broward County prosecutors have not announced a decision on this matter. Cruz is being held without bond.

The grand jury indictment comes on the same day Education Secretary Betsy DeVos met with students and faculty at the school. Her visit coincided with the return of the first full-day class schedule since a the shooting took place.

The visit was closed to the press "out of respect for the student and faculty," according to a press release announcing her visit. At a press conference following her meetings at the school, DeVos described her time there as "a sobering and inspiring moment and visit."

DeVos also defended the idea of allowing some teachers to carry concealed weapons on school grounds, something President Trump signaled support for in the days following the shooting.

"Let's be clear, I think to say arming teachers is an oversimplification and a mischaracterization really," DeVos said. "I think the concept is for those schools and those communities that opt to do this...to have people who are expert in being able to defend and having lots and lots of training in order to do so."

DeVos highlighted a program in Polk County, Fla., that trains and arms teachers to respond to a would-be attacker, including a potential gunman.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, the program run by Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd allows teachers or professors who "volunteer for the training would go through a certification program that would be more stringent than even those police officers go through."

Arming teachers has become a major point of contention in the debate over gun safety measures before the Florida legislature. On Monday, Florida's Republican-controlled Senate narrowly passed a package of gun control measures, aimed at preventing rampages like the one at Stoneman Douglas.

As NPR reported, the measure passed the Senate by a 20-18 vote, and raises the age requirements in the state to purchase a firearm from 18 to 21, bans bump stocks and imposes a three-day waiting period to buy any gun.

Also included in that bill was an opt-in provision to allow some teachers and school staff to carry guns in the classroom, but excludes those who "exclusively perform classroom duties as classroom teachers."

The Associated Press and NPR contributed to this report. 

 

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