Florida prosecutors intend to seek death penalty for Parkland school shooter

Nikolas Cruz in court via video conference from jail for his first appearance after the shooting

Prosecutors will seek death penalty for Nikolas Cruz, Parkland shooting suspect

The office of Broward County State Attorney Michael Satz filed the formal notice Tuesday.

"We are still ready to enter a plea of "guilty" to several consecutive life sentences, without parole, out of respect for the victims of this tragedy", Chief Assistant Public Defender Gordon Weekes tells the newspaper.

The denial is a technicality arising from a deadlock between Cruz's lawyers - who want him spared the death penalty - and prosecutors, who say he should be executed.

Surveillance video that shows the initial law enforcement response to last month's mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland was released Thursday. The matter was not further addressed in court Wednesday.

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Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer entered the not guilty pleas on Cruz's behalf after he remained silent.

Florida Governor Rick Scott, through his spokesman John Tupps, said he supported the death penalty for Cruz, saying the state would hold the accused gunman accountable "to the fullest extent of the law".

"Please, please, please, there are people here". A few of them wiped tears after Cruz entered the room. "There's a lot of people around us that are injured, people that are injured, people that are bleeding".

A teacher from room 1216 also called for help and told the 911 operator that a student had been hit in the chest, and wasn't breathing.

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But Ashley Schulman, a 17-year-old Stoneman Douglas senior who was on the opposite end of the campus when shots rang out, said she supported the decision to seek the death penalty. Officers described coming across bodies, bleeding students and bullet-pocked windows.

They warned that the suspect may have changed clothes after they reported finding a camouflaged jacket, ski mask and backpack on the first floor. He has been kept away from other inmates for his own safety, the records said, and most of his interactions with other people have been with visiting attorneys or the jail staff members monitoring him.

Meanwhile, a student who is credited with saving the lives of 20 students by attempting to close and lock a classroom door during the attack is improving at a hospital. A few lawmakers have introduced a bipartisan bill called the STOP School Violence Act, meant to offer more resources to schools to boost security and increase coordination with local law enforcement.

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