A hearing in the criminal case against the confessed Florida school shooter on Tuesday morning has been canceled, the Associated Press reports.
The hearing was removed from the court docket and no explanation was immediately available.
Nikolas Cruz, who has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder, was not expected to appear in court alongside his counsel; he previously waived his right to attend the hearing. Cruz is being held without bail at the Broward County Jail for his confessed rampage on students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14.
Prosecutors in the case are seeking to obtain hair samples, fingerprints, DNA and photographs of the 19-year-old suspect to proceed with the criminal hearings, which may have caused the delay in the hearing schedule.
In a separate court matter, Cruz’s lawyers are seeking to disqualify a judge from presiding over the case. The defense says in court papers that Circuit Court Judge Elizabeth Scherer is biased in favor of prosecutors, which threatens Cruz’s right to a fair trial.
As the case moves through the court system, it has fueled a nationwide debate over gun control and has sparked protests and conversations in Florida's Capitol in Tallahassee and in Washington D.C. about the apparent ease to purchase weapons with the power to commit mass destruction. Cruz purchased legally the AR-15 weapon and high-capacity magazines he used to unleash bullets on his former classmates, despite disturbing evidence from his online activity and his history of violent behavior.
The Broward County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI are also under scrutiny following the Parkland massacre as they confirm that Cruz was the subject of 18 calls to police for various disturbances.
Sheriff Scott Isreal released details on 23 calls to Cruz's home between 2008 and 2017, with 18 of those involving the confessed gunman. He claimed that none of the incidents were "arrestable under Florida law," but two of the calls are still under an internal investigation.0comments
Several of Cruz's former classmates have told reporters about various incidents that were reported to the school, including racial epithets, fights, online threats and one attempted stabbing. There is no word from the school on how these reports were handled and whether Cruz was punished for them specifically. He was expelled in the spring of 2017 as a disciplinary action, then he transferred to another school.
As debates about school safety, gun control and authorities' handling of the matter continue, students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School returned to class on Monday, nearly two weeks after the tragedy.