Sunday 22 September 2019

Florida school massacre suspect 'grabbed stun gun' during prison 'assault'

Nikolas Cruz: Florida school shooting suspect. (Broward County Jail via AP)
Nikolas Cruz: Florida school shooting suspect. (Broward County Jail via AP)

Florida school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz attacked a prison officer at the county jail and now faces new charges including use of the officer's electric stun device, authorities have said.

Broward Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Veda Coleman-Wright confirmed on Wednesday that Cruz assaulted Sergeant Raymond Beltran on Tuesday.

Jail records show Cruz now is charged with aggravated assault on an officer, battery on an officer and use of an "electric or chemical weapon against an officer".

The 20-year-old Cruz already faces the death penalty, if convicted over the February 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland that killed 17 people and wounded 17 others.

ipanews_4fa73b73-97c6-4603-b308-55e50a226818_embedded466591
Nikolas Cruz (Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

He has pleaded not guilty in the shooting but his lawyers say he would plead guilty in exchange for a life prison sentence.

According to the assault arrest report, Cruz attacked Sgt Beltran after he was told to "not drag his sandals around" while walking in a jail day room.

Cruz responded, the report says, by showing Sgt Beltran his middle finger and then rushing the deputy and striking him with his fist.

The report says Cruz and Sgt Beltran then "got into a physical altercation" in which both wound up on the floor and Cruz was able to wrest control of the stun gun, technically called a "conducive electronic weapon".

The stun gun discharged but it was not clear from the report if it struck anyone and Sgt Beltran was able to regain control.

Sgt Beltran was also struck multiple times by Cruz using his fists, according to video surveillance cited by the report.

Finally, the report says Sgt Beltran struck Cruz in the face with a fist containing the stun gun and Cruz then "retreated to one of the seats" in the day room before he was taken into custody.

The report does not mention the severity of any injuries to either Cruz or Sgt Beltran.

Online Editors

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News