Florida: Parkland shooting suspect’s brother arrested on probation violation for driving without license and being near another school

In this Thursday, March 29, 2018, file photo, Zachary Cruz, brother of Nikolas Cruz who's accused of killing 17 students and staff members at the school Feb. 14, appears in court in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Zachary Cruz has been arrested for violating the terms of his probation, and was booked into the Palm Beach County jail, Tuesday, May 1, 2018. (Susan Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, Pool, File)

By TERRY SPENCER,  Associated Press   FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) 05/02 — The brother of the suspect in the Florida high school shooting is being accused of violating his probation for earlier trespassing at the school where the massacre occurred.

Palm Beach County jail records show Zachary Cruz was being held without bond Wednesday pending a transfer to neighboring Broward County for a court appearance that has not been scheduled. Cruz was arrested Tuesday on a Broward warrant.

His attorney filed a written plea of not guilty to the probation violation allegation Wednesday.

The warrant says Nikolas Cruz’s 18-year-old brother was stopped last week for driving without a license and was within 25 feet of the parking lot of a Lake Worth high school. Nikolas Cruz, 19, is accused of killing 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14.

Zachary Cruz is on six months’ probation after pleading no contest in March for trespassing at the Parkland school. Deputies say they found Zachary Cruz riding his skateboard on campus March 19 about two hours after school had been let out. Officials say he had been told to stay away from the school, something his attorney on the trespassing charge, Joseph Kimok, had denied.

As part of his probation, Cruz was ordered to stay at least a mile from Stoneman Douglas and to not enter any school unless enrolled. The brothers are both former Stoneman Douglas students.

Kimok said in an email Wednesday he has not yet been appointed to represent Cruz on the probation violation but he said he is “very concerned” about the Broward Sheriff’s Office’s conduct in this arrest. First, he said it is “very unusual” for a probation violation to be filed for driving without a license.

He also said Cruz is not banned from being near a school other than Stoneman Douglas.

“We all drive past and walk past schools every day and many public parks are located near schools so I’m concerned if, as it appears, BSO has violated him simply for going near a school.  That just wasn’t a condition we agreed to as part of his plea,” Kimok said.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Veda Coleman-Wright said Cruz’s caretaker reported him because he was driving without a license and insurance. She said violating any law is a violation of probation.

Attorneys for Nikolas Cruz have conceded he is the shooter and say he would plead guilty in exchange for a life sentence. Prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty.

Also Wednesday, a nonprofit civil rights organization called Nexus Derechos Humanos said it is planning to file a federal lawsuit on Zachary Cruz’s behalf challenging how he has been treated by law enforcement. The group claimed in an email news release that Zachary Cruz’s rights are being violated and he has been subjected to “intimidation” solely because of the identity of his brother.

_____

Associated Press writer Curt Anderson in Fort Lauderdale contributed to this story.

 

https://www.apnews.com/e25d3fa7df5b41d1855baca8634507aa/Shooting-suspect’s-brother-arrested-on-probation-violation

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Posted in: Arrests, Harassment, Probation, Sheriffs

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