Suspected Gunman Nikolas Cruz Says Two Words to Judge in First Court Appearance

Nikolas Cruz, the accused Florida school shooter, said only two words in his first court appearance since the shooting on Wednesday.

At the start of the bond hearing Thursday, Judge Kim Theresa Mollica asked, "Are You Nikolas Jacob Cruz?"

"Yes, ma'am," the 19-year-old replied, as seen in video published by the Sun-Sentinel.

Cruz was ordered held without bond at the end of the short hearing in a heavily-guarded Fort Lauderdale courtroom, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

"Okay, sir. You are charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder," Mollica replied, reports CNN. "I have something very important to tell you. You're charged with some very serious crimes. You have the right to remain silent. If you give up that right at any time during this hearing, whatever you say can and will be used against you in the prosecution of this case."

Mollica asked the prosecution if it wanted to hold Cruz without bond.

"Yes, your honor," the prosecution replied.

Cruz was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said at a news conference.

Police say Cruz entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida Wednesday afternoon, and killed 17 people. Students, teachers and staff are among the victims.

Cruz went into the school "with a premeditated design, in that he went loaded with an AR-15 rifle. He had additional ammunition with him… and shot 17 individuals who later died as a result of the gunshot wounds and then he fled the scene," the prosecution said during the hearing Thursday.

"I find probable cause. I further find the proof of guilt to be evident or the presumption great, therefore Mr. Cruz, you're going to be held without bond until further order of the court. This order is without prejudice," Mollica said.


Since the shooting on Wednesday, officials have continued to learn more about Cruz. A member of the white supremacist group, the Republic of Florida, told the Anti-Defamation League that Cruz was a member of the group. Authorities also say Cruz legally bought the AR-15 rifle he allegedly used. One of the attorneys representing Cruz told the Sun-Sentinel that Cruz is on suicide watch, and has to wear a black suicide prevention vest.

"What was relayed to me was 'He is such a child,'" Gordon Weekes, a chief assistant at the Broward Public Defender's Office, said. "That's the impression our attorneys are getting."