Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz casually bought a drink at a Walmart Subway before sitting with one of his victims’ siblings at a McDonald’s; a video played in court Thursday shows.
Cruz murdered 17 people at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018. He was able to flee the chaotic scene by blending in with students evacuating campus.
Surveillance video from McDonald’s shows Cruz with his Subway drink in hand. He sat down in a booth with then-freshman John Wilford, whose sister, Maddy, was seriously injured in the shooting. Wilford did not know Cruz and declined to give him a ride when asked.
“He just sat down next to me,” Wilford testified. “I didn’t think much of it. I was panicked. I was just trying to get back home.”
Wilford, who was unable to make contact with his sister, was waiting for his mother to pick him up at the fast food chain. He tried to make small talk with the killer.
“I told him, ‘This is so chaotic; it’s crazy with all these helicopters and squad cars. What do you think this could be?’” he said. “He didn’t say much. He had his head down.”
Wilford’s mother arrived to pick him up about a minute later. Cruz followed him to the parking lot and insisted that they give him a ride. Wilford testified that he just wanted to go home and did not want to provide Cruz with a lift. Cruz walked away.
Cruz was arrested about 40 minutes after the encounter by Coconut Creek Police Officer Michael Leonard. Leonard testified he was driving around looking for anyone matching the shooter’s description when he spotted Cruz walking. He drew his gun and ordered Cruz to the ground, which Cruz did.
Cruz pleaded guilty to 17 counts of first-degree murder in October. Jurors will decide whether Cruz gets life without parole or is sentenced to death. The jury will vote on all 17 counts.