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Video shows Nikolas Cruz attack jail guard in 2018

Parkland school shooting suspect makes first in-person court appearance since pandemic
Posted at 4:04 PM, Jul 15, 2021

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A video shown in court Wednesday shows Parkland school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz rushed at a jail guard, briefly wrestling him to the ground during a November 2018 altercation.

The battery and assault charges stemming from Cruz's fight with Broward Sheriff's Office Sgt. Raymond Beltran are being tried separately from the 17 counts of murder Cruz faces for the February 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland.

Wednesday's hearing was over whether prosecutors should have access to Cruz's medical records as his defense will be Beltran had been mistreating him.

Nikolas Cruz wearing mask in court, July 14, 2021
Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz sits in court during a pre-trial hearing Wednesday, July 14, 2021, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on four criminal counts stemming from his alleged attack on a jail guard in November 2018. Cruz is accused of punching Sgt. Ray Beltran and wrestling him to the ground.

In the video, Cruz rushes Beltran and briefly gets him on the ground before the guard subdues him.

Beltran told investigators he asked Cruz not to drag his feet and damage his sandals.

In the video, Cruz flips both middle fingers at Beltran and then charges the guard, who stands up to defend himself. Cruz is able to throw the larger Beltran to the ground briefly, before the guard is able to flip him over and briefly pin him.

Cruz escapes Beltran's grasp and the two get into boxing stances. Cruz hit Beltran in the shoulder before the guard hits Cruz in the face, staggering him.

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

Cruz, making his first in-person court appearance since before the pandemic, sat quietly in an orange jump suit and shackles during the 30-minute hearing over battery and assault charges stemming from the Nov. 13, 2018, altercation at the main Broward County jail.

Judge Elizabeth Scherer holds picture of injury to Nikolas Cruz's elbow after 2018 jail fight
Judge Elizabeth Scherer holds a photograph of Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz showing an apparent injury to his elbow stemming from a November 2018 altercation between Cruz and Sgt. Ray Beltran during Cruz's pre-trial hearing Wednesday, July 14, 2021, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Prosecutor Maria Schneider told Judge Elizabeth Scherer that her team needs Cruz's complete medical records from the time he arrived at the jail shortly after the shooting because, if Beltran previously mistreated him, any injuries might have been documented.

David Wheeler, Cruz's attorney, argued that Cruz's medical records are private under state and federal law and, at most, prosecutors should only be allowed to see records of any examinations that happened within a day of the fight. Neither Cruz nor Beltran appeared to suffer any serious injuries.

Scherer said she would rule on the prosecution's request by Friday.