Nikolas Cruz was formally charged Wednesday with 17 counts of first-degree murder in the bloody Valentine’s Day rampage at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that killed 17 teachers and students.
A Broward County grand jury indicted Cruz, 19, on the murder charges plus 17 counts of attempted murder.
Cruz could face execution if convicted of first-degree murder. Broward County Public Defender Howard Finkelstein, whose office is representing Cruz, has said the teen would be willing to plead guilty to avoid a death sentence. Finkelstein said Cruz is deeply troubled and remorseful over the shooting.
Cruz, who had been expelled from the Parkland school, entered the building armed with a semiautomatic assault weapon, smoke grenades and a mask, authorities said. They said he fired more than 100 shots before the gun apparently jammed and he walked out of the building amid the chaos.
Cruz was taken into custody walking through a nearby neighborhood a short time after the shooting. He later confessed to the attack, according to a probable cause warrant.