Zachary Cruz says failure to stop Parkland shooting 'haunts me'

The brother of the gunman who killed 17 students and adults at a Parkland, Florida, school announced the launch of an...

Posted: Jun 15, 2018 7:05 AM
Updated: Jun 15, 2018 7:05 AM

The brother of the gunman who killed 17 students and adults at a Parkland, Florida, school announced the launch of an anti-bullying campaign on Thursday that he says could prevent the next mass tragedy.

"Every day and every night I think to myself how this could have been prevented and it haunts me," Zachary Cruz,18, said on Thursday. "Yet life is not about the past. Life is about where you are and where you're going. Me, I've decided that it isn't too late to prevent the next Parkland, the next Santa Fe, or the next Columbine."

The organization, called We Isolate No-one: The Zachary Cruz Foundation to End Bullying, is backed by Nexus Services, a legal rights group that has been assisting Cruz.

The announcement comes four months after Cruz's brother Nikolas used an AR-15-style rifle to carry out one of the worst mass shootings in American history. Nikolas Cruz is awaiting trial on murder charges, and Zachary Cruz did not say much about him on Thursday.

"I cannot stand here today and defend my brother or make excuses for him," Cruz said at a news conference in Washington. "His story is complicated, tragic and can be told elsewhere."

The mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School led to a renewed critical focus on US gun laws. Parkland survivors and gun control advocates pushed to limit access to firearms in the wake of the shooting, while pro-gun advocates, including President Donald Trump, said teachers should be allowed to carry their own firearms to stop a shooter.

However, Zachary Cruz said the issue was not about guns at all, but about bullying.

"We can't solve this with new rules or laws alone. We can't solve this problem with more teachers or more staff. We can't solve this problem by making it harder to buy guns. We can't solve this problem by giving guns to teachers," Cruz said. "The only way to solve this problem is for kids to stand up and end bullying in our schools."

Cruz has previously said he believes bullying contributed to the Parkland shooting.

"Because my brother didn't really fit in with a lot of people and I saw the effects of that, like, firsthand," Zachary Cruz told CNN affiliate WPEC last month. "It's a real issue, so I just want to try to change that."

In statements to investigators after the shooting, Zachary Cruz said he bullied his brother when they were younger, according to a sheriff's report.

Cruz has had his own legal issues connected to the aftermath of the shooting. He was arrested in March on a misdemeanor trespassing charge for skateboarding at Stoneman Douglas High School. For that minor offense, Cruz's bail was set at $500,000 and he was sentenced to six months probation.

He later filed a lawsuit against Broward County officials, accusing them of violating his Eighth Amendment rights and claiming he was tortured while in jail. Cruz moved from south Florida to Virginia last month in hopes of a fresh start, he said last month. Nexus Services is assisting Cruz in his lawsuit and relocation in Virginia.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1112735

Reported Deaths: 17652
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1450832237
Lake721711247
Allen66684881
Hamilton50838487
St. Joseph49493645
Elkhart40079546
Vanderburgh34553496
Tippecanoe30654274
Johnson27559465
Hendricks26181383
Porter25556386
Madison21002452
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Delaware16666300
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Warrick12152190
Wayne12036268
Floyd11968226
Grant11901242
Morgan10360192
Boone9815122
Noble9234122
Henry9142167
Marshall9062147
Dearborn8923100
Dubois8815139
Shelby8210129
Cass8134127
Lawrence8018185
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Jackson764093
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Gibson7074118
Montgomery7052123
Harrison6923100
Knox6896115
Steuben665889
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Posey407544
Randolph3908107
Washington389856
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Newton181752
Brown176150
Crawford168829
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Martin151820
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Warren135316
Union121016
Ohio92113
Unassigned0592

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1708292

Reported Deaths: 26587
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1785651827
Cuyahoga1669492640
Hamilton1132851528
Montgomery801921395
Summit715401199
Lucas627081020
Butler56598805
Stark535121171
Lorain41895642
Warren35785412
Mahoning35635771
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Clermont31120363
Trumbull27130616
Delaware27046182
Licking26528336
Medina25825351
Fairfield24511287
Greene24265372
Clark21980387
Portage21117281
Richland20947340
Wood20015246
Allen18870320
Miami17196348
Columbiana16795332
Muskingum16644206
Wayne15664306
Tuscarawas14329360
Marion13250194
Ashtabula12618232
Erie12602198
Scioto12416184
Pickaway12208153
Ross11639225
Hancock11448173
Geauga10863175
Lawrence10617172
Belmont10416234
Huron9765158
Jefferson9601227
Union954075
Sandusky9272166
Seneca8853157
Knox8761170
Washington8675158
Darke8365180
Athens835396
Ashland7956149
Auglaize7897117
Shelby7459133
Defiance7331115
Crawford7233150
Fulton7167112
Brown7135115
Logan6975108
Guernsey691484
Mercer689998
Highland6718119
Clinton6493106
Madison648089
Williams645199
Preble6243140
Putnam6220120
Jackson578896
Champaign578487
Perry564979
Coshocton5623104
Ottawa561999
Morrow515264
Fayette492170
Hardin485999
Gallia469678
Van Wert465693
Pike463476
Adams4569109
Henry432378
Hocking407193
Holmes3989140
Wyandot374973
Carroll363978
Paulding323851
Meigs304959
Monroe235561
Noble219647
Morgan215238
Harrison210953
Vinton186937
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