Breaking News Emails
Confessed Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz said in cell phone video recorded before the Feb. 14 massacre that “I’m going to be the next school shooter of 2018,” according to footage released by prosecutors on Wednesday.
Prosecutors released three cell phone videos in response to public records requests filed by media organizations, including NBC News. They show Cruz, 19, talking about his plans to carry out the attack. He is accused of opening fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 people.
Police have said Cruz confessed to the shooting. His attorneys have said that he is willing to plead guilty in exchange for a life sentence instead of facing the possibility of the death penalty. Prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty in the case.
In the videos, Cruz says he plans to shoot people with an AR-15 rifle, says the location would be the high school and that he planned to kill at least 20 people. He says that people would see him on the news.
Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter, Jaime, was killed in the school shooting, told the Miami Herald that he was concerned that media attention about the videos would inspire other shootings. He said he has no intention of watching the videos.
"I don’t want other kids to see what he said and think they'll do it better," Guttenberg told the Miami Herald Wednesday. "What he did has resulted in him being in jail where he will rot and die."
Guttenberg made similar comments on Twitter. Student Cameron Kasky said on the social media platform after the videos were released that "School shooters can NOT be treated like celebrities. I don’t want to hear their names or see their faces. Nobody does."
Student David Hogg, who became a prominent face of students calling for gun control after the Parkland shooting, tweeted at the Sun Sentinel newspaper Wednesday, "Please do not post his name you are giving him what he wants, fame".
The shooting prompted Florida lawmakers to pass a bill restricting the sale of firearms to those 21 years of age or older. Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, signed the bill into law despite the opposition of the National Rifle Association.
Scott on Fox News called the video “disgusting” and “horrible.” He said on the program “my goal is it never happens again in Florida.”
The shooting also prompted major retailer Dick’s Sporting Goods to announce it would stop selling assault-style rifles and end the sale of firearms to buyers under 21. The federal minimum age is 18. The federal minimum age to buy handguns from federally licensed dealers is already 21.
Walmart, which said it stopped selling "modern sporting rifles, including the AR-15" in 2015, also said it would raise the age for buying firearms and ammunition to 21.
Earlier this month, another person opened fire on a school in Texas, killing eight students and two teachers. The suspected gunman, student Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17, was armed with a shotgun and a pistol, police have said. He confessed to the shooting after being arrested, according to authorities.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday introduced recommendations on how to improve school safety, many dealing with increased security at schools and mental health awareness, the Associated Press reported.