Video was released Wednesday of alleged Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz describing to authorities "the demon" and "voices" that drove him to kill 17 students and faculty in February.
Only small snippets of Cruz's extensive questioning by Florida police were made public. In them, he sobs, speaks with his brother and whispers "kill me" to the camera suspended in the interrogation room.
He is also seen slapping and punching himself when left alone. Offered a glass of water, he declines, saying, "I don't deserve it."
The 19-year-old sat slumped in a chair, barefoot and wearing a hospital gown with one leg shackled to the floor. He told a Broward County sheriff's detective he wanted to kill himself. He also spoke of "a voice" and a "demon" that told him to "burn, kill, destroy."
Defense attorneys unsuccesfully tried to block release of the tapes, saying they could jeopardize potential jurors.
Cruz spoke in a listless monotone. At one point he asked for an attorney. Several times he asked to speak to his younger brother, Zachary Cruz.
He and Zachary were adopted at birth. They had the same biological mother, but different fathers. When his 18-year-old brother said he loved him, Nikolas broke down sobbing and wailing, and Zachary, with the detective's permission, held his brother as he cried and shook.
“People think you’re a monster now,” Zachary tells him. “A monster?” Cruz replies, just hours after he allegedly opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
“You don’t have anything and you’re not acting like yourself. Like, why? … This is not who you are … Why did you do this? … Don’t even laugh at me,” Zachary says.
“I’m sorry, dude,” Nikolas answers.
The brothers' relationship had been strained for many years. Nikolas claimed he was bullied by Zachary and slept with scissors and knives to protect himself, their mother once told a psychiatrist.
At times, Zachary sounded like a father while talking to his big brother.
“You’re only 19, dude,” he told Nikolas. “You know how many years you had ahead of you? You know how many years you had? Years? You’re stuck – you’re still stuck in your teenage mindset and you did this dumb s***. You’re not thinking about your future.”