A little over a month after the Parkland school shooting, the shooter’s younger brother, Zachary Cruz, was arrested for trespassing on the school grounds. He told Broward County deputies that he had returned to the school to “reflect on the shooting.” The judge sentenced him to six months of probation for doing so.
Under the terms of his probation for that incident, Cruz was ordered to stay a mile away from the Stoneman Douglas campus and 500 feet from any campus of any school or childcare facility. He was forbidden from contacting any of the victims or their family members and was ordered to wear a GPS monitor.
Not long after he was sentenced to probation, he was caught violating its terms and driving without a valid license. On May 1st, he was booked into the Palm Beach County Jail for being 25 feet from Park Vista High School in Boynton Beach. Cruz was spotted by a Broward County sheriff’s employee who caught him in a brown SUV between 12:45 and 1 p.m. near the school’s west parking lot. Palm Beach County sheriff’s deputies booked him.
Some believe his bond is set too high and that he is being punished for the actions of his brother; yet, the prosecutor claims she sees the same red flags that his brother displayed. She also stated that Zachary Cruz had admitted to trespassing at Marjory Stoneman Douglas twice before he was ultimately arrested and that his trespassing had caused parents to keep their children home. Cruz’s attorney entered a written plea of not guilty for the probation violation.
Trespassing on School Grounds in Palm Beach
Typically, trespassing on school grounds is a second-degree misdemeanor that results in a $25 bond. The judge who presided over Cruz’s probation violation set his bond at $500,000, ordered a psychological evaluation and electronic monitoring, and barred him from communicating with his brother. Cruz appeared in shackles surrounded by three armed deputies for his first court appearance.
The prosecutor initially requested the bond to be set at $750,000. She had stated during the hearing for his probation violation that someone had overheard Zachary Cruz boasting to Nikolas Cruz about how popular Nikolas had become during a visitation. He also allegedly discussed “how many girls” Nikolas is “capable of attracting” because of his reputation. The brothers talked about forming a fan club with their admirers. Ultimately, the judge ruled that Zachary cannot contact Nikolas but she did not grant the $750,000 bond.
Upon his release, Zachary Cruz must wear an ankle monitor, remain one mile away from Marjory Stoneman Douglas, and 500 feet from any other school or daycare center. The Broward Sheriff’s Office released a statement saying that he had been involuntarily committed under the Baker Act for a mental health evaluation. Another judge has also banned him from owning and purchasing guns and ammunition for one year under Florida’s “red flag laws.”
Probation Violation Defense You Can Count On
At The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel, we provide thorough legal representation for anyone accused of a misdemeanor or felony offense in West Palm Beach. Attorney Brian Gabriel has over 30 years of experience protecting the rights of the criminally accused throughout South Florida. Call 561-622-5575 or contact us for a free consultation.