CNN reports 18-year-old Zachary Cruz visited the school after hours to “reflect on the school shooting and soak it in.” During his court appearance at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla, prosecutors shared how the teen took a liking to his brother’s actions and even hoped to start a fan club or pen pal system for him. They’ve also taken measures to prevent the teen from purchasing a gun since he had “all the same flags” as his brother.
His older brother is currently in police custody awaiting trial for the shooting that killed 17 people on Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14). The shooting, which lasted all of five minutes, has been since labeled one of the deadliest mass shootings in modern U.S. history. The same shooting has sparked nationwide debates about banning the purchase of semi-automatic weapons and promoted a National School Walkout, organized by students, in protest of gun violence.
While the survivors of the shooting are trying to move on, Zachary claimed to feel responsible for the lives lost that day. According to court documents, he said that he feels like he could have possibly prevented the tragedy. He also admitted to bullying Nikolas as children and wishes he was “nicer” to him.
Since the boys’ adoptive mother died in November, the teen has been staying with a family friend, Rocxanne Deschamps, in a suburban Palm Beach County mobile home.
“I don’t want to be alive. I don’t want to deal with this stuff,” said Zachary the night of the shooting according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.
Nikolas is being held without bail at the Broward County Jail and is separated from the other inmates. Last Tuesday (Mar. 13), prosecutors announced they will seek the death penalty against the 19-year-old as they found the shooting “especially heinous, atrocious or cruel.” In Florida, the death penalty is still legal with the last execution taking place in 2016.