School Climate & Safety

Stoneman Douglas Student Arrested for Threat; Deputies Move to Keep Guns From Brother of Accused Shooter

By Evie Blad — March 20, 2018 3 min read
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Broward County, Fla., sheriff’s deputies Tuesday sought to use the state’s new “red flag law"—signed by Florida Gov. Rick Scott after the mass shooting at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School—to restrict the accused shooter’s brother’s access to guns. And they arrested a current Stoneman Douglas student after they said he made a threat involving a gun on social media.

Also Tuesday, the sheriff’s office suspended a deputy who was reportedly asleep at his patrol station on the school’s campus Monday, outside of the building where a gunman killed 17 people in the Feb. 14 school shooting.

The sheriff’s office, facing criticism for its previous handling of that shooting suspect, has stepped up security in the Parkland schools after the incident. On Monday, Scott offered to send state highway patrol officers to Parkland to aid with security.

“Today, my office heard from parents of students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, including parents who lost their children during the February attack,” he said in a letter to the sheriff’s office and the school district. “They are still concerned about student safety at the school. Recent events at the school have demonstrated the need for additional security measures to be implemented.”

Superintendent Robert Runcie responded to those concerns Tuesday night.

Zachary Cruz, 18, the younger brother of accused gunman Nikolas Cruz, was arrested Monday for trespassing at Stoneman Douglas High School, where he told officers he had come to reflect on the shooting.

Sheriff’s deputies committed Zachary Cruz for a mental evaluation under the Baker Act, a state law that allows law enforcement to involuntarily commit people who’ve been deemed a threat to themselves or others, a news release said, and they sought a risk protection order under the state’s new “red flag law,” enacted into law in response to the shooting.

If the order is granted, it would prohibit Zachary Cruz “from possessing and acquiring firearms for a period of time to be determined by the court.”

Passage of state “red flag laws” is a stated goal of both the White House school safety plan and the organizers of last week’s school walkouts, held to protest gun violence.

Parkland student arrested for threat

Deputies arrested a 10th-grade student after a tip about photos he’d shared on Snapchat.

“In one image, the teen displays a gun in his waistband. In a second image, he shows off bullets,” the news release said. “The detective said both photos had threatening messages; one message was directed to a person named ‘Josh.’ ”

Detectives found the student’s action “interfered with school function and disturbed the peace.” They deemed he was a threat to himself and hospitalized him under the Baker Act.

The student faces a misdemeanor charge.

Deputy Suspended

The sheriff’s office suspended Deputy Moises Carotti with pay today pending an internal affairs investigation into reports that he was sleeping on the job Monday.

A student told an officer patrolling the inside of the school shortly after 5 p.m. Monday that Carotti was asleep in his patrol car, which was parked outside of the freshman building where the shooting happened, a news release said.

The officer knocked on the window and confirmed that Carotti appeared to be sleeping, the release said. He relieved the officer and sent in another deputy to monitor the building.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Rules for Engagement blog.