Nikolas Cruz threw up and hyperventilated in the first minutes of being arrested after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, police said in the first official account of his actions and behavior after the Feb. 14 massacre.
Citing a Coconut Creek police report released on Thursday, the Sun Sentinel reported that arresting officer Michael Leonard said that besides having trouble standing on his feet the 19-year-old Cruz heaved and vomited clear fluid as an eyewitness prepared to identify him face-to-face as the shooting suspect.
According to the police report, Officer Leonard had peeled off from the post-shooting staging area at the high school and, using a limited description, started looking through the neighborhood for the alleged shooter.
At 3:36 p.m., more than an hour after the shooting had stopped at the high school, Leonard spotted Cruz wearing the maroon polo shirt, black jeans and a ball cap that witnesses said the suspect was wearing, per the Sun Sentinel.
Cruz had ditched his rifle while escaping the high school campus around 2:29 p.m. and had walked to a nearby Walmart and McDonald’s, the Miami Herald reported, all the while eluding police who had swarmed to the scene.
Leonard said Cruz calmly complied when he shouted orders for him to get facedown in the grass. The officer then held Cruz at gunpoint until backup arrived. Cruz was then searched and handcuffed
Leonard said after an eyewitness who saw him at the school was brought to the arrest scene to identify Cruz his body language changed.
“Cruz became weak and required help holding himself up,” Leonard said in the report, per the Sun Sentinel. “Cruz also began to heave and vomit clear fluid. Cruz began to hyperventilate.”
Cruz was taken to a hospital by other officers, and then to jail, the Herald said.
The former Stoneman Douglas student has been on suicide watch in the Broward Main Jail since his arrest and faces the death penalty on 17 charges of murder and 17 charges of attempted murder, the Sun Sentinel said.
NBC News earlier reported that a student who survived being wounded five times in the Stoneman Douglas shooting spree has filed a civil lawsuit against Cruz and others.
The parents of Anthony Borges, 15, who was credited with saving as many as 20 of his classmates by barricading a classroom door and using his body as a shield, filed a lawsuit seeking “damages in excess of $15,000, exclusive of interest, costs, and attorney’s fees,” NBC News said.
The lawsuit also named Cruz’s foster parents James and Kimberly Snead, Henderson Behavioral Health, Jerome Golden Center for Behavioral Health, Inc., South County Mental Health Center, Inc., and the estate of biological mother Lynda Cruz, as defendants in the case.
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