Alexi C. Cardona and Mike James Naples Daily News
Published 12:52 p.m. UTC Aug 7, 2018
NAPLES, Fla. — The teenager accused of killing 17 people at a Parkland, Florida high school in February said in a taped confession that he heard “voices” in his head and wanted someone to “just kill me,” according to a transcript released Monday.
Nikolas Cruz, 19, told a detective that the voices in his head began after his father died, and worsened after his mother died of pneumonia, just months before the rampage. Cruz said a voice at one point told him to “Burn, kill, destroy.”
Cruz also told police during the interview, conducted right after his arrest for spraying bullets into his classmates at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day, that the voices told him to buy a gun.
The transcript was released by the State Attorney’s Office in Broward County on Monday and a video of portions of the confession will be released Tuesday.
At one point, the detective doing the interview, John Curcio, asked Cruz if he wanted a drink of cold water. Cruz replied, “I don’t deserve it.”
Curcio left the room briefly to get him a cup of water anyway. That’s when Cruz, alone in the room, remarked that he wished he could be killed. Cruz continued to say on the recording that he deserved to die.
“I want to die,” Cruz said during the recording. “At the end, you’re nothing but worthless s—, dude. You deserve to die because you’re f—ing worthless and you f—ing (unintelligible) everyone. I want to die.””
Details of the shooting are blacked out, but the transcript otherwise deals with the death of Cruz’s parents, his penchant for killing animals, his former girlfriend, his brother, guns, suicide attempts and, especially, the voice.
Cruz said he heard the voice the morning of the shooting, according to the confession transcript.
Much of the 217-page confession is redacted. According to Florida law, any information revealing “the substance of a confession” is exempt from public disclosure until the case is resolved. A Broward County judge last month ruled the non-confession portions of Cruz’s post-shooting statements could be made public, according to the Associated Press. Cruz’s attorneys did not want the document disclosed, saying it would hinder his right to a fair trial, the AP reported.
The content of the transcript is expansive; Cruz discusses his brother, his ex-girlfriend, being adopted, previous drug use and incidents in which he killed animals. Cruz mostly talked about the voice in his head.
Related: Two Parkland students survived a school shooting. Then their father was shot and killed.
Also: The families of Parkland are hoping to start a civil discussion about ending school violence
Cruz told the detective about his suicide attempts. He said after his mom died, he tried to kill himself by swallowing over-the-counter pain medication. Another time, he tried to poison himself with alcohol.
The transcript shows Cruz spoke so softly at times, the detective had trouble hearing and asked him to speak up multiple times.
Cruz asked the detective to call a psychologist. When the detective asked him what he wanted to talk to a psychologist about, Cruz said, “To find out what’s wrong with me.”
Cruz told the detective he bought his first gun at 18 and collected three shotguns, an AR-15, a handgun and an AK-47. His mother had taken him to buy some of the guns, the transcript states.
The detective asked him whether his mom ever asked why he was buying so many guns. Cruz said he told her they were for his protection and because they looked “cool.” He also said the voice wanted him to buy guns.
Cruz told the detective he bought guns to protect himself from the voice and also kept the guns locked up to keep the voice from getting to them. Cruz estimated he spent about $4,000 on firearms and ammunition.
Cruz told the detectives multiple times he was lonely. He had no friends and scared girls away, Cruz said.
The voice in his head kept him from being lonely. Curcio asked him if the voice was like an imaginary friend.
“Almost, yes,” Cruz said.
The detective asked him why he wanted to be friends with someone who tells him to do bad things.
“To have somebody,” Cruz said.
The detective asked Cruz whether the voice told him to buy the AR-15 he is accused of using in the shooting. Cruz said yes.
“I don’t really believe there is a voice to be honest with you,” Curcio told Cruz.
Cruz insists there is a voice.
The detective doubles down on Cruz about there not being a voice toward the end of the interrogation. Curcio insisted Cruz simply liked guns and that was why he amassed them.
The detective asked Cruz why he never tried to stop the “demon” and the voice. Curcio told Cruz he could have sought help with a psychologist, seen a priest or told his mom while she was still alive. The suspected gunman could have asked for medication or smoked marijuana, which Cruz had already done and said helped quiet the voice, Curcio said during the interrogation.
Cruz had a multitude of ways to stop the demon in his head, according to Curcio.
At that point, Cruz appeared to become agitated. He asked Curcio if he could have some time to think about the demon and why he hadn’t tried to stop it.
“I think you like the demon,” Curcio told Cruz.
“I don’t like the demon. I don’t like the demon. I don’t like the demon. I don’t like the demon,” Cruz said.
Eventually, Cruz asked for an attorney and repeated four times, “I’m scared.”
“Why wouldn’t he protect me?” Cruz asked.
Curcio said he didn’t know, walked out of the room and told Cruz to yell if he needed anything.
When Curcio left, Cruz said: “Why didn’t he kill me? Why didn’t he kill me? Why didn’t he kill me? Why didn’t he kill me? Why didn’t he kill me?”
Curcio returned and handcuffed Cruz’s hands behind his back.
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