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'Couldn't Find Anyone to Kill': Nikolas Cruz Says Why Mass Shooting Ended

Newsweek 10/3/2022 Zoe Strozewski
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz is shown at the defense table after the defense team announced their intention to rest their case during the penalty phase of the trial of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz at the Broward County Courthouse September 14, 2022 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Cruz revealed in footage played in court on Monday that the rampage only ended because he “couldn’t find anyone to kill.” © Amy Beth Bennett/Pool/Getty Images Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz is shown at the defense table after the defense team announced their intention to rest their case during the penalty phase of the trial of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz at the Broward County Courthouse September 14, 2022 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Cruz revealed in footage played in court on Monday that the rampage only ended because he “couldn’t find anyone to kill.”

Nikolas Cruz, the gunman in the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, revealed in footage played in court on Monday that the rampage only ended because he "couldn't find anyone to kill."

Forensic psychiatrist Dr. Charles Scott played the footage, taken from interviews with Cruz, to support his diagnosis of the 24-year-old with antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, a history of conduct disorder and malingering, according to the Independent. This diagnosis could be key in the outcome of Cruz's ongoing sentencing trial that will decide whether he will face the death penalty or be forced to live out the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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On February 14, 2018, Cruz fatally shot 17 people and injured others when he opened fire inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. He pleaded guilty last year to 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder.

As a jury is now tasked with deciding Cruz's penalty for the mass shooting, the footage played in Broward County Court provided more insight into Cruz's mindset and decision-making before and during the deadly attack.

Antisocial personality disorder is a "mental disorder in which a person consistently shows no regard for right and wrong and ignores the rights and feelings of others," while borderline personality disorder "impacts the way you think and feel about yourself and others, causing problems functioning in everyday life," according to the Mayo Clinic.

Malingering is a falsification or exaggeration of either physical or mental illness for external benefits.

In the video, Cruz is heard telling Scott how he wanted to "kill as many people as I could" and his preparations leading up to the shooting, which included researching other mass shootings and practicing shooting in a backyard. He also recounted some specific details of how he fatally shot some of the victims.

Scott testified in court that Cruz's ability to remember information from during the attack indicated that he has adequate executive functioning, the Independent reported. Scott also explained that Cruz displayed impulsive aggression and planned aggression, the latter of which is characteristic of antisocial personality disorder rather than fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD).

Cruz's defense has been trying to argue that his mother's consumption of alcohol while she was pregnant led to behaviors that ultimately culminated in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, the Associated Press reported.

FASDs are "a group of conditions that can occur in a person who was exposed to alcohol before birth," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). "Alcohol during pregnancy is dangerous because it can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth and "a range of lifelong physical, behavioral, and intellectual disabilities."

Scott's diagnosis, therefore, can undercut the FASD defense as Cruz's team argues for a life sentence rather than the death penalty.

"This was not a spur of the moment decision. This had been planned out for months," Scott said of the shooting, according to the Independent.

Newsweek reached out to Cruz' lawyer for comment.

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