Jail Records Reveal Cruz Behavior Behind Bars

NBC 6's Dan Krauth discusses reports detailing the behavior behind bars of the alleged gunman in the Parkland school tragedy.

(Published Tuesday, March 6, 2018)

What to Know

  • Nikolas Cruz is accused of fatally shooting 17 people on Feb. 14.

  • Most victims of the Parkland school shooting were teenage students.

  • Records show some of Cruz's behavior since he was arrested.

Newly released jail records offer a look at the "restless" and "awkward" jail life of Nikolas Cruz, the teen who is being held on 17 counts of premeditated murder in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last month.

On every shift, deputies observe Cruz in his protective custody single cell at the Broward County Jail. The "behavior observation reports" obtained by NBC6 detail his appearance, behavior, communication, thinking, socialization and daily activities between Feb. 17 and Feb. 24.

Surveillance footage shows then-school resource deputy Scot Peterson standing outside of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School building where gunman Nikolas Cruz opened fire on students and faculty inside, then running out of view, not to be seen again on other school cameras.

(Published Thursday, March 15, 2018)

Many deputies wrote that Cruz kept his head cast down, made little eye contact, responded in a slow, soft voice but was cooperative. Early on in his stay, deputies wrote that Cruz sat with a blank stare.

Several days later, deputies wrote that Cruz was “restless” and “tossing and turning” instead of sleeping.

On the day of a Feb. 20 court hearing, the deputy wrote that Cruz “appeared to break out in laughter both during and immediately following” a visit with an attorney, marking that episode as “awkward” behavior.

Cruz once refused to eat a provided meal. But on all other days, the deputies observing him indicated that he ate normally. One meal was listed as including two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, an apple, cookies and juice.

The aunt of a Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting victim attended a walkout Wednesday at the Parkland, Florida, high school where her niece was killed on Feb. 14. "I beg viewers to stand up with these kids and fight with us to get this gun legislation in this country changed," Gina Fontana told NBC 6's Ari Odzer. 

(Published Wednesday, March 14, 2018)

The records also indicate Cruz made only request during that time period, and that was to read the Bible. That request came on the same day the report lists he had a family visit.

The section marked “Thinking" is blocked out in the reports. No reason was given for the redaction, but the section appears to refer to the state of Cruz's mental health.

The jail visitor log shows that Cruz's attorneys are his most frequent visitors, as well as investigators and a psychologist, NBC News reported.

The revelations come as James and Kimberly Snead, who had taken in Cruz after his mother died, testified before a grand jury Wednesday in a closed-door session.