The half-brother of Parkland shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz reportedly bragged about “how many girls he’s capable of attracting,” thanks to his brother’s newfound “popularity” in the wake of the deadly high school shooting.
Zachary Cruz, 18, was arrested Monday, March 20, after authorities said he trespassed on school grounds at Stoneman Douglas High School, the same school where his older brother is accused of gunning down 17 people in a grisly attack last month. According to his arrest report, Cruz said he breached the campus to “reflect on the school shooting and soak it all in.”
Cruz, who shares a mother with the accused gunman, was ordered to have zero contact with his brother. However, the two have reportedly had contact with one another since Nikolas Cruz’s incarceration, the New York Post reported.
“He has been heard and observed discussing how popular his brother is now, that his face is everywhere and his name is national,” Assistant State Attorney Saranell Murphy said of Zachary Cruz. “There’s discussion of starting some sort of pen pal or fan club and how many girls [Nikolas] is capable of attracting.”
Prosecutors said Monday was the third time Cruz was caught on the school’s campus since the bloody Valentine’s Day massacre, despite being warned to stay away.
Broward County Judge Kim Theresa Mollica has since ordered the teen to stay one mile from Stoneman Douglas, wear an ankle monitor and undergo a psychological evaluation, according to the New York Post. Mollica also ordered that the home where Cruz has been living with caretaker Roxanne Deschamps be searched for firearms.
The 18-year-old is currently being held on $500,000 bond. Cruz’s lawyer, Joseph Kimok, griped that his client had already paid the $25 bond that was initially set, arguing prosecutors were punishing the teen more harshly because he happens to be the brother of an accused mass murderer.
“He should have already been released — he is being held because of who he is related to,” Kimok complained. “To say somehow that Mr. Cruz is a danger to the community … is simply fallacy.”
Prosecutors have argued otherwise, saying Cruz is exhibiting worrisome behavior.
“[Zachary Cruz] has all the same flags present as his brother,” Murphy said.