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The teenager who shot dead 14 classmates and three teachers at a Florida high school bragged that he would be “the next school shooter” in a video recorded before the massacre.
Nikolas Cruz, 19, was apprehended by police an hour after the Valentine’s Day rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
On Wednesday, prosecutors in the case released three clips recorded by Cruz on his mobile phone, in which he lashes out at classmates and lays out detailed plans for a massacre at his former high school.
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“My name is Nik and I'm going to be the next school shooter of 2018,” he says in one clip. “My goal is at least 20 people with an AR-15.”
Chillingly, many of the details in his violent fantasy - such as a comment that he would arrive at the school in an Uber - actually came to pass on the 14 February rampage.
“I’ll go into the school campus, walk up the stairs, load my bags and get my AR and shoot people down at [...] the main courtyard and people will die,” he said in the video.
In another clip, possibly recorded on the day of the attack, he said: “Today is the day, the day it all begins… All the kids in the school will run in fear and hide.”
The videos “will almost certainly bolster the prosecution's efforts to convict Cruz, 19, of first-degree murder, a capital offence”, says The Miami Herald.
“It shows premeditation,” Penny Brill, a retired Miami-Dade assistant state attorney told the newspaper. “It wasn’t a spur of the moment decision to shoot.”
Cruz had been diagnosed with emotional and behavioural problems, which led to his expulsion from Marjory Stoneman Douglas in 2017. The videos “paint a portrait of a rage-filled teen lashing out”, says the New York Post.
“I hate everyone and everything,” he said in one clip, describing his life as “meaningless”.
He said fellow students had been “brainwashed” by the government and accused them of treating him like an “idiot”.
“You’re all going to die. Pew pew pew. Can’t wait,” he said.
Cruz, who confessed to investigators, faces 17 charges of murder and 17 charges of attempted murder. Prosecutors have said they plan to seek the death penalty. “At age 19, he would be the youngest death row inmate in the state,” says CNN.
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