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Nikolas Cruz pleads guilty to assaulting jail guard, guilty plea for massacre to come Wednesday

School Shooting Florida
Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz holds his head in court during day two of jury selection in his trial at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021, on four criminal counts stemming from his alleged attack on a Broward jail guard in November 2018. Cruz is accused of punching Sgt. Ray Beltran, wrestling him to the ground and taking his stun gun. (Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel via AP, Pool)

Nikolas Cruz, the man who confessed to shooting and killing 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018, pleaded guilty to attacking a jail guard nine months after the shooting.

In court on Friday morning, Judge Elizabeth Scherer asked Cruz questions about his state of mind, if he was on any medication or drugs and if it was his sole decision to plead guilty to the charges.

“Do you suffer from any physical or mental illness?” asked Scherer.

“I was told in the past I had like anxiety and depression,” said Cruz.

When Scherer asked if he had been formally diagnosed Cruz said no.

Cruz then plead guilty to attempted aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer with a deadly weapon, battery on a law enforcement officer, depriving an officer of means of protection, and attempted use of self-defense weapon against a law enforcement officer. 

“I accept your plea of guilty. I find that you are alert and intelligent, that you understand the nature of the charges, that you understand the consequences of entering into the plea,” Scherer said.

Broward County jail guard Sgt. Raymond Beltran overseeing Cruz during his recreation period when they suddenly began to argue.l and eventually ended up fighting. The scene was caught on tape. Cruz flipped both middle fingers at Beltran and then charged him, starting a minute-long brawl that ended after Beltran staggered him with a blow to the head.

Beltran told investigators that Cruz attacked him after he asked him to stop dragging his feet and damaging his sandals.

Attorneys for Cruz also told Judge Scherer that he will plead guilty Wednesday to 17 counts of first-degree murder in the February 2018 school shooting. The pleas will come with no conditions and prosecutors still plan to seek the death penalty. That will be decided by a jury, but that trial has not been scheduled.