Accused Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz appears in court for the first time since before pandemic – CBS Miami

MIAMI (CBSMiami / AP) – Parkland School shooter Nikolas Cruz rushed at a prison guard and briefly managed to tackle him to the ground in an altercation in 2018 before he was overpowered , according to a video released Wednesday in court.

Cruz, making his first in-person court appearance since before the pandemic, sat quietly in an orange jumpsuit and shackles during the 30-minute hearing on the assault charges resulting from the altercation at the prison of Broward County. This happened nine months after the February 14, 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 people dead and 17 injured.

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The November 13, 2018 jail altercation is being tried separately from the first degree murder case, and Wednesday’s hearing focused on whether prosecutors should have access to Cruz’s medical records. Prosecutors say they must review the files because Cruz’s attorneys have indicated their defense will be Sgt. Raymond Beltran mistreated Cruz before and provoked the attack.

In the video, which has no sound, we see Cruz walking alone in a circle, his head bowed, around some benches in a small indoor recreation area of ​​the prison. He is dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit, a white long-sleeved undershirt and sandals. Beltran is seated at a table in the corner.

After several minutes, Cruz stops about 3 meters from Beltran and the two seem to be exchanging words – Beltran declared to the investigators that he had asked Cruz not to drag his feet and to damage his sandals. Cruz returns the two adults to Beltran then charges the guard, who gets up to defend himself. Cruz, who weighs around 130 pounds (60 kilograms), is able to briefly throw the larger Beltran to the ground, before the guard can turn him around and briefly corner him.

Cruz escapes Beltran and the two get into a boxing position. Cruz hit Beltran on the shoulder before the guard hits him in the face, causing him to stagger.

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Beltran then arms his stun gun and points it at Cruz, who gets down on the ground and is handcuffed. The fight lasted almost exactly a minute.

Prosecutor Maria Schneider told Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer that her team had needed Cruz’s full medical records since arriving at jail shortly after the shooting, because if Beltran had mistreated him previously, injuries could have been caused. be documented.

David Wheeler, Cruz’s attorney, argued that Cruz’s medical records are private under federal and state laws and that, in most cases, prosecutors should only be allowed to view the tapes of all exams. which took place in the day following the fight. Neither Cruz nor Beltran appear to have suffered serious injuries.

Scherer said she would vote on the prosecution’s request by Friday.

No trial date has been set for the assault or murder cases. Cruz, 22, faces the death penalty if convicted of murder. His lawyers said he would plead guilty to murder charges in exchange for a life sentence, but prosecutors refused.

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(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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