Parkland shooter pleads guilty

Reilly Ziolkowski, Arts and Literature Editor

On Feb. 14, 2018, Nikolas Cruz, who was 19 years old at the time, opened fire at his former high school, Stoneman Douglas High School, with an AR-15 rifle. He killed 14 students and three staff members and wounded 14 others. Nine months after the shooting, Cruz attacked a Broward County Jail guard.

Oct. 20, 2021, Cruz pled guilty to 34 charges, 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted first degree murder. He is also being charged for attempted aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer with a deadly weapon, battery on a law enforcement officer, depriving an officer of means of protection and attempted use of a self-defense weapon against a law enforcement officer. 

On the day of his hearing, surviving victims and parents of victims were permitted to watch Cruz plead guilty to the judge’s counts and penalties. After his charges were read, Cruz made a speech to those affected by his actions. 

“I believe it’s your [the victims and their families] decision to decide where I go, and whether I live or die. Not the jury’s. I believe it’s your decision. I’m sorry,” said Cruz. 

The jury’s decision on whether he should be executed or sentenced to life in prison without parole will be held on Jan. 4, 2022.