Brother of Parkland School Shooting Suspect Ready to Start New Life

Zachary Cruz is hugged by Mike Donovan, CEO of Nexus Services, Inc., after a judge granted Cruz the ability to move to Virginia to serve his probation for trespassing.

The 18-year-old brother of a Florida school shooting suspect said he just wants to finish high school and “live my life” when he moves to Virginia to serve his probation for trespassing.

Zachary Cruz spoke to the Palm Beach Post on Sunday while preparing to drive to Staunton, Va. He will be taking his mixed golden retriever named Mazie, and Colby, the fox terrier mix that belonged to his brother, Nikolas Cruz.

Cruz said he used to fight with his brother when they were younger, but said they made amends as they grew older and accepted each other’s differences. He said his brother is “a very fragile person.”

“We got along [as teenagers] in the household, we would go out and hang at the pool, walk the dogs and we used to do normal brother stuff together at home,” Zachary Cruz said.

On Friday, a judge approved Zachary Cruz’s move. His brother remains in jail in Fort Lauderdale, charged with the deaths of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14. He is also charged with 17 counts of attempted murder.

The boys were each adopted at birth. Their father died 13 years ago and their mother, Lynda Cruz, died in November.

“[Nikolas] is a very fragile person and my mom was always there for him,” Zachary said.

A month after the shooting, Zachary Cruz was arrested for trespassing on the Parkland, Fla., campus where the shooting occurred. He told deputies at the time that he wanted to “reflect” on the shootings. He was initially held on $500,000 bond because investigators said he showed the same red flags as his brother. He was arrested again May 1, this time for being spotted close to a school in Palm Beach County.