Zachary Cruz was arrested and held on $500,000 bond after authorities say he trespassed at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., where his older brother Nikolas Cruz is accused of killing 17 people on Valentine’s Day.
According to the Palm Beach Post, Zachary was warned by school officials to stay away from campus. However, state officials say that the younger Cruz has trespassed at the school three times since the mass shooting.
At around 4:30 p.m. Monday, Zachary rode his skateboard through campus and “surpassed all locked doors and gates” as easy as that, according to officials. The 18-year-old reportedly told deputies that he wanted to “reflect on the school shooting and soak it in.”
His older brother, 19-year-old Nikolas, was charged with murder and attempted murder in the horrific Feb. 14 shooting during which 14 students and three staff members were killed.
The older Cruz is currently being held without bail at the Broward County Jail and is facing the death penalty if convicted.
After the massacre, Zachary had a mental health evaluation under the state’s Baker Act, which allows the state to hold someone in custody for up to three days.
The younger Cruz had no connections to Broward County and was said to have been living with family friends in Palm Beach County when the shooting occurred. He drove back home after the attack and was quoted saying, “I don’t want to be alive. I don’t want to deal with this stuff.”
He later denied wanting to hurt himself. He then told investigators that he “doesn’t understand why his brother would have done this” and that “it’s not a realistic option to kill people.”
“[He] explained that he and his friends, when they were younger, had bullied Nikolas, which he now regrets ever doing. (He) wishes that he had been ‘nice’ to this brother,” a deputy wrote in a report.
A state prosecutor originally asked for Zachary’s bond to be set at $750,000, even as the standard bond for trespassing is $25.
“He has all the same flags present as his brother,” state prosecutor Sarahnell Murphy said.
Murphy said that students at Stoneman Douglas were being “terrorized again,” with many parents keeping their kids home Tuesday following Zachary’s arrest.
Murphy also noted that Zachary told his brother about how “popular” he was following the shooting and “how many girls he’s capable of attracting.” The two young men reportedly spoke about forming a “pen pal club” to take advantage of Nikolas’ infamy.
As part of Zachary’s arrest, he will not be able to visit his brother in jail. His home will also be searched for weapons, he will have to wear an ankle monitor and he cannot come back to Broward County except for official business. Zachary must also stay more than 500 feet from any school or day care.