Several days before Nikolas Cruz shot and killed 17 people at his former high school in Parkland, Florida, he was planning the attack, according to a series of videos taken on his cell phone. He wanted to Uber to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, unload his guns, and start shooting.
Those admissions could bolster prosecutors’ case for seeking the death penalty against him.
For 19-year-old Cruz to face the death penalty, prosecutors must prove the crime was premeditated. The three videos — recorded on February 8, 11, and 14 and released by prosecutors Wednesday — not only reveal Cruz’s intentions days before he carried out the worst mass shooting since Sandy Hook but also suggest a motive: Cruz wanted to be remembered.
“My name is Nik, and I’m going to be the next school shooter of 2018,” Cruz said in one of the cell phone videos. “My goal is at least 20 people.”
Prosecutors announced their plan to seek the death penalty against Cruz, who faces 34 counts of premeditated murder and attempted murder, about a month after the shooting, according to the Sun Sentinel. Before the videos were released, Cruz allegedly posted a comment on a YouTube video, sometime before September 2017, that said he wanted to be a “professional school shooter,” according to the New York Times.
Andrew Pollack, the father of victim Meadow Pollack, said these videos should prove Cruz wasn’t insane. Instead, the attack was premeditated murder, Pollack told CNN.
“It just shows this kid was competent. This whole thing was premeditated murder,” he said. “This kid knew exactly what he was doing.”
Cruz appeared committed, even manic, in video apparently taken earlier the same day he opened fire on his old high school with an AR-15.
“Today is the day. The day that it all begins. The day of my massacre shall begin,” Cruz said. “All the kids in school will run in fear and hide. From the wrath of my power they will know who I am.”
He even brags about his forthcoming massacre.
“You’re all going to die,” he says in a sing-song voice. “Pew! Pew! Pew! Pew! Pew! Ah yeah. Can’t wait.”
In the videos, Cruz articulates his hope for notoriety, even infamy, following the atrocity he was about to commit.
“It’s gonna be a big event,” Cruz said. “When you see me on the news, you’ll all know who I am.”
But his exact motive remains unclear.
“I’ve had enough being told what to do and when to do. ... Telling me I’m an idiot and a dumbass,” he says in the video. “In real life, you’re all the dumbass. You’re all stupid and brainwashed.”
In one video, Cruz singled out a person named “Angie” and said he’ll always love her.
“I hope to see you in the afterlife,” he says on the video.
Angie’s identity is currently unknown. The name doesn’t match anyone who was murdered, or wounded, and, according to the Sun Sentinel, the name wasn’t on a redacted list of witnesses who gave statements after the shooting.
Cover image: Assistant Public Defender Melisa McNeill speaks to Florida school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz, before the start of a court hearing, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Friday, April 27, 2018. (Taimy Alvarez/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, Pool)