A Year After Parkland Massacre, Zachary Cruz Still Stands by His Brother

Playing Where Nikolas Cruz’s Brother Zachary Is 1 Year After Parkland Shooting

A year after his brother opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, killing 17, a lot has changed for Zachary Cruz.

Today, the 19-year-old lives in Virginia with a family who took him in, and he says he wants to focus on healing. A couple of months ago, he got a new tattoo — a peace sign just beneath his eye.

"It represents how I want all my life to be, all of my actions now," he told Inside Edition. "I want everything to be peaceful."

His brother, Nikolas Cruz, 20, is awaiting trial in a Florida jail, where Zachary said he visits him at least once a month.

"I love him because he's my brother, but he is a monster at the same time," Zachary said.

During his visits, they talk about "things going on in the world. ... We talk about movies, books," he said.

When asked how Nikolas is doing in jail, Zachary said, "He's just surviving."

Footage released by authorities last year showed Zachary visiting his brother hours after his arrest in February 2018. The brothers, who share a mother, were adopted by the same family as babies.

"This is not who you are. Like, come on. Why did you do this?" Zachary is heard asking him in the recording.

His brother simply responded, "I'm sorry."

Seventeen people, including three members of school staff, died after a gunman opened fire at the Parkland, Florida, high school on Feb. 14, 2018.

The attack sparked a student-led movement for increased gun control. A month after the massacre, more than 1 million people took part in March for Our Lives demonstrations across the U.S.

Nikolas, who confessed to the killings, faces first-degree murder and attempted murder charges. Prosecutors rejected a plea deal from the defense, which would have taken the death penalty off the table in exchange for a guilty plea.

A trial date has not been set.

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