>> Mr, are you Nikolas Jacob Cruz?>> Yes ma'am.>> Suspected Parkland shooter, Nikolas Cruz, appeared in court, Thursday, charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder in the second deadliest shooting at a public school in US history. These terrifying moments captured by a student in Marjorie Stone Douglas High School, as gun shots rang out Wednesday.
Officials say Cruz, a former student expelled from the high school, was armed with an AR-15 style rifle. And had multiple ammunition magazines when he surrendered to officers in a nearby residential area. Now, authorities are probing for a motive and finding a dark past for the 19 year old.
Reuters correspondent, Zachary Ferguson, is in Parkland.>> Most recently, Reuters has been able to confirm that Cruz took part in some activity with a White Nationalist Militia called the Clearwater Republic of Florida. The group's leader spoke with Reuters by phone earlier today. And confirmed that he had been involved in some way with one of the group's cells in the state.
The FBI is also investigating some comments that Cruz may have posted on the social media website YouTube. Expressing some interest in becoming a school shooter. However, Special Agent Rob Laski, the agent in charge of the FBI's field office down here said the agency has done some database searches.
But could not yet confirm whether or not Cruz was actually the one who made those posts. They also don't know what specific time they were made, or what computer they actually came from.>> A Federal law enforcement official told Reuters the FBI is now conducting an extensive review of how it handled that tip to see if mistakes were made.
Cruz's attorneys spoke Thursday and described the accused killer as quote, broken child. Cruz's mother died last year and his father passed away years earlier.>> He does have significant mental illness. We're gonna explore possibility of autism that we've been hearing about.>> Cruz's attorney, at times, grew emotional while discussing the case.
Now, the shocked community of Parkland, Florida is just the latest flashpoint in a political and cultural clash on how to respond to American's gun violence epidemic.