Authorities say Parkland shooter recorded detailed plans on cellphone video
(CNN) — The former student who gunned down 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, recorded his plans on three cellphone videos, saying in one that he would try to kill at least 20 people.
According to newly released transcripts of the videos obtained from a source close to the investigation, Nikolas Cruz details how he will carry out the shooting.
“I’m gonna go take Uber in the afternoon before 2:40 (p.m.). From there I’ll go into — onto school campus, walk up the stairs, unload my bags and get my AR and shoot people down at the man — what is it? — the main courtyard, wait, and people will die,” he says.
Investigators discovered the videos on Cruz’s cellphone, which was taken into evidence after the shooting. The videos are listed on the prosecution’s discovery list. Authorities didn’t say when the videos were recorded.
In another video, Cruz says, “Today is the day. The day it all begin. The day of my massacre shall begin. All the kids in school will run and fear and hide. From the wrath of my power they will know who I am.”
“Hello, my name is Nick and I’m going to be the next school shooter of 2018,” says Cruz at the start of another video. “My goal is at least 20 people with an AR-15 and a couple tracer rounds.”
“It’s going to be a big event. And when you see me on the news, you’ll all know who I am,” he said before laughing.
He ends that video saying, “You’re all going to die. Pew, pew-pew, pew, pew, pew, pew, pew. Ah yeah. Can’t wait.”
On February 14, Cruz used an AR-15-style rifle to kill 17 people and wound 17 others.
Cruz, a former Stoneman Douglas student, roamed the hallways of the 1200 building on campus February 14 for several minutes, targeting victims huddled in classrooms on the first and second floors, killing 14 students and three school employees in one of the deadliest mass shootings in modern US history.
He confessed to the crimes, police said
A Broward County grand jury indicted the 19-year-old Cruz in March on 17 counts of premeditated murder in the first degree and 17 counts of attempted murder in the first degree. A judge entered a not-guilty plea on Cruz’s behalf during his arraignment.
Broward County prosecutors have said they plan to seek the death penalty despite his attorney’s offer of a guilty plea in exchange for a life sentence.
If a jury condemns Cruz to die, it will take years for the execution to be carried out. At age 19, he would be the youngest death row inmate in the state.
Florida has 347 people on death row, and has executed 96 people since 1976. So far this year, the state has executed one person.
Parkland students begin to heal through song
The pain on their faces and in their lyrics is palpable. But the determination in their voices rings loud and clear.
“You’re not gonna knock us down
We’ll get back up again
You may have hurt us
But I promise we’ll be stronger”
It’s the chorus to “Shine,” a song written by a pair of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High drama students that’s part anthem, part rallying cry and that expresses their pain after the mass shooting at the Parkland, Florida, school that killed 17 people on Valentine’s Day.
A video to the song — composed by Sawyer Garrity, 16, and Andrea Pena, 15 — was released on Friday, and it features scenes of Stoneman Douglas students and their families helping each other heal in various ways: a hug between a father and his daughter in the school drop-off line; an art student drawing the words “Kids Lives Matter” on a project; children giving a big group hug to a school staff member as he walks a hallway.
“We’re not gonna let you win
We’re putting up a fight
You may have brought the dark
But together we will shine the light.”
The proceeds will go toward healing
The video was produced and directed by Brittani Kagan, a 2007 graduate of the school, and all proceeds from the downloads and views of it will go to Shine MSD, a nonprofit created by Stoneman Douglas families to support programs that provide healing through the arts. Garrity and Pena’s song was also performed live at the March for Our Lives in Washington back in March.
Kagan heard the girls sing the song while visiting the school after the shooting. She was so moved by it that Kagan, who works for a digital studio in Los Angeles, promised the girls she’d do whatever she could to get their song out.
She produced the video with help from other alumni and the entertainment community in South Florida, with many people either working on the project for free or donating resources and equipment.
The video was shot at the school and at the Washington march and features nearly 100 students, including the victims’ families, who hold up pictures of their loved ones at the start of the song.
The song expresses pain and resilience
Garrity and Pena trade lyrics during the emotional tune, expressing the school’s and community’s pain, anger and agony over the mass shooting that managed to still shock a nation that’s endured too many of them.
“You, you threw my city away,
you tore down the walls
and opened up all the gates”
But the teens also spread a message of resilience, hope, and unity in their song, too, vowing to not let the tragedy change who they are.
“I feel that making the music video was not only a way for us to spread the message of what our song is truly about but also a way for us as a community and as a school to come together and heal. Everything we do is for the 17 Eagles we lost,” Peña said in a statement. “Their lives shouldn’t have ended early so we do our best to make sure that their lives are never forgotten.”
After spending a couple of days in Parkland after the shooting, Kagan said she was so moved by the tragedy that she had to do something.
“Sawyer, Andrea and the rest of the students absolutely floored me with their compassion and maturity, and I knew that I had to dive into ‘Shine’ with them and make sure the music video amplified the song’s message and captured my school in an authentic, meaningful way,” she said. “The journey has been one of the most important experiences of my life.”
The video, which runs for about five minutes, ends simply but powerfully. After the song is over, the names of the 17 people killed in the shooting that day appear on screen.