A member of the Broward Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team has testified that convicted killer Nikolas Cruz attacked him and tried to grab his stun gun while in the Broward County Jail.
Surveillance video played in court Wednesday morning showed Cruz pacing in circles around some tables in a cellblock for exercise on Nov. 13, 2018.
Cruz was walking on flip-flops that were folded over because he allegedly claimed they were broken.
Sgt. Raymond Beltran testified he said he would get Cruz a new pair if he stopped walking.
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Then the video shows Cruz lunging at Beltran and the two rolled around the floor of the cell with Cruz trying to pull Beltran’s stun gun from its holster.
“[Cruz] has the Taser in his right hand. At this point, I have to get the Taser back,” Beltran testified. “He could tase me. He could incapacitate me. He could basically do whatever he wants.”
The stun gun deployed but neither was incapacitated.
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Cruz eventually obeyed Beltran’s commands to lie on the floor face down. Cruz was handcuffed and led to another cell, off camera.
Court records show lead defense attorney Melisa McNeill had complained to the Broward Sheriff’s Office six weeks before the attack about Beltran’s treatment of Cruz.
The defense contended Beltran provoked the attack. He was reassigned after the fight with Cruz.
Defense lawyers had requested three hours of surveillance video that recorded any interaction between Cruz and Beltran prior to the attack but learned it had been erased.
The defense cross examined Beltran Wednesday, but Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer ruled against bringing up the matter, or Beltran’s DUI arrest in Washington state that was subsequently reduced to reckless driving.
Among those also testifying for the state were two Broward Sheriff’s detectives who recovered a cellphone from the crime scene that allegedly belonged to Cruz.
Prosecutors have presented 50 witnesses to the jury, during eight days of testimony.
The 23-year-old pleaded guilty last October to 17 murders and 17 attempted murders at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Feb. 14, 2018.
Jurors will have to determine whether Cruz should be put to death or spend the rest of his life in prison. It would take only one vote against the death penalty to give Cruz a life sentence.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.