Zachary Cruz, brother of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School murder suspect, is being held on $500,000 bond for trespassing at the school in Parkland, Florida. (Image source: YouTube screencap)
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Prosecutors say Zachary Cruz, brother of accused mass murderer Nikolas Cruz, has been held on a $500,000 bond after prosecutors argued that Zachary "has all the same flags present as his brother."
Following a warning from authorities to stay away from the site of his older brother's alleged mass killing spree at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, teenager Zachary Cruz was arrested on Monday for trespassing at the school in Parkland, Florida.
His caretaker, Rocxanne Deschamps, was away in New York during the teen's arrest.
Zachary is accused of entering the school's campus on his skateboard, and according to police, "surpassed all locked doors and gates and proceeded to ride his skateboard through school grounds." Security cameras recorded the incident.
In court on Tuesday, Zachary's attorney, Joseph Kimok, noted that typically the bond for a trespassing offense would be set at $25. He claimed his client "is being held because of who he is related to, not because of anything he did. The state has been making a show of this."
After the killings at Stoneman Douglas, Zachary told authorities that he felt "somewhat responsibly and guilty about the incident and that he could have possibly prevented (it)," and continued that he "doesn't understand why his brother would have done this."
But prosecutors insisted on Tuesday that the younger Cruz is also a threat. Assistant State Attorney Sarahnell Murphy said Zachary "has been heard and observed discussing how popular his brother is now. That his face is everywhere and his name is national."
Students from Stoneman Douglas also weighed in on Zachary's trespassing incident, with junior John Mansfield telling the Sun Sentinel, "I think he's trying to understand like everyone else."
Senior Conner Gandy said, "It's weird and suspicious, but I don't think he would do anything."
Some parents of students attending the school district have expressed their reservations about allowing any possible breaches of security, accusing educators and authorities of missing red flags from the behavior of Zachary's older brother.
"How many other ticking time bombs are left undetected?" asked Wayne Alder, board member and parent of a middle-school student. "We don't know and the district doesn't know. It happened at Parkland this time. Where else is it going to happen?"
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