New jail described the accused Florida shooter as restless and say he's only made one request behind bars

New jail described the accused Florida shooter as restless and say he's only made one request behind bars

nikolas cruz

South Florida Sun-Sentinel via Associated Press

Nikolas Cruz appears in court for a status hearing before Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer Monday, Feb. 19, 2018, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

  • Jail records show that alleged Florida shooter Nikolas Cruz has been quiet but restless since the massacre.
  • Cruz is "cooperative" with jail officials and "responsive" to visitors, the records show.
  • A grand jury indicted Cruz on 17 counts of premeditated first-degree murder on Wednesday.
  • He could face the death penalty if convicted.

Accused Florida gunman Nikolas Cruz has been locked in isolation at the Broward County Jail since, police say, he killed 17 people at a Parkland high school three weeks ago.

Cruz has spent most of that time in silence, cooperating with jail officials and his lawyers, but speaking only when spoken to, according to records obtained by local media.


A grand jury indicted Cruz on Wednesday on 34 counts, including 17 for first-degree murder and 17 for attempted first-degree murder. Cruz could face the death penalty if convicted, but his public defenders say he will plead guilty if prosecutors agree to a life sentence instead.

Cruz has already confessed to the shooting, local authorities said, and his attorneys previously described him as remorseful and a "broken human being."

But the jail records give some insight into Cruz's behavior in the wake of the massacre and how he's being treated.


Here's what jail officials observed:

  • The day after Cruz was arrested, he was strip-searched, fed, and "placed in a suicide gown."
  • Cruz is listed in "protective custody," housed in a single cell in the infirmary. Jail officials said they sought to isolate him because any interaction with inmates is "not allowed for his safety."
  • Cruz has generally been "cooperative" with jail officials and "responsive" and "very engaged" when speaking with visitors.
  • But when left to his own devices, Cruz keeps a "quiet demeanor" and is frequently seen with "a blank stare."
  • One detention deputy wrote on February 19 that Cruz "did not speak to me when asked the question, 'How are you?'"
  • Jail officials describe Cruz as "logical and coherent" during interactions, and when left to himself, he appears to be in "deep thought."
  • Though he once refused a meal, he usually eats normally. One meal was described as two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, an apple, cookies, and juice.
  • Cruz takes his medication, though it's unclear what he's being treated for. Police reports from 911 calls made to Cruz's home before the shooting said he was medicated at the time for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
  • Cruz is frequently restless and has trouble sleeping. One observation report said he "twists and turns in bunk. Does not sleep. Stares at wall in deep thought, eyes closed, appears to be resting not asleep."
  • Cruz's visitors include family members, his attorneys, authorities, and doctors and psychologists.
  • He was "talkative" during a Feb. 20 meeting with his attorneys and a doctor.
  • On another visit, jail officials saw Cruz "smiling and giggling."
  • During one visit with his attorney, Cruz "appeared to break out in laughter both during and immediately following" the visit. A jail official marked the observation down as "awkward" behavior.
  • Cruz only made one request during the six days described in the records - a bible to read.

The Broward County Jail has placed Cruz on suicide watch, a public defender told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, though the jail records either redact or don't include the information.