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Bail set at $500K for Parkland shooting suspect's brother in school trespass

Zachary Cruz, center, the brother of the Florida school shooting suspect, is displayed in a monitor via closed circuit television from the main jail as he as he makes his first appearance on charges of trespassing on the grounds of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Tuesday, March 20, 2018, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. A judge set an unusually high $500,000 bond on Tuesday and imposed a host of other restrictions. (Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, Pool)

Associated Press

FORT LAUDERDALE — A judge set an unusually high $500,000 bail on Tuesday and imposed a host of other restrictions for the brother of the Parkland school shooting suspect who was charged with trespassing at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

A prosecutor said that Zachary Cruz, 18, expressed admiration for his brother Nikolas Cruz's fame since the Feb. 14 shooting and that they had discussed whether it might attract girls and pen pals.

"He has been heard observing how popular (Nikolas') name is now," said Assistant State Attorney Sarahnell Murphy at a hearing.

"Weeks after his brother murdered, injured and terrorized at the school, (Zachary) was there," she said. "Many (parents) kept their children home today. They have again been terrorized."

Prosecutors said it was the third time he had visited the campus even though he was warned to stay away.

Broward Sheriff's Office deputies arrested Zachary Cruz on Monday afternoon, saying he rode his skateboard onto the campus. He is in the same Fort Lauderdale jail where Nikolas Cruz is housed.

Joseph Kimok, who is representing Zachary Cruz, said the bail and conditions were far out of proportion to the trespassing offense.

According to an arrest report, Zachary Cruz told officers he came to the school to "reflect on the school shooting and soak it all in." He did not resist arrest and the report made no mention of any weapons.

Trespassing is a misdemeanor that usually carries only a $25 bail. But Murphy asked for $750,000.

Broward County Judge Kim Theresa Mollica ordered Zachary Cruz to wear an ankle monitor and stay away from schools — particularly Stoneman Douglas High — if he is released.

The judge also ordered a search for weapons and ammunition at the Palm Beach County home where he is living with a family friend, and he is not to visit his brother in jail.

The Sheriff's Office also filed for a risk protection order against Zachary Cruz in circuit court Tuesday under a new "red flag law" that was just signed by the governor last week. If a judge approves the request, Cruz would be involuntarily hospitalized for a mental health evaluation and barred from possessing firearms.

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