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Florida Prosecutors Seeking Death Penalty For Florida High School Shooter

Prosecutors on Tuesday filed a notice of intent that they will seek the death penalty in the case of Florida school shooter Nicolas Cruz. 

Last week, a Broward County grand jury indicted the 19-year-old Cruz on 17 counts of premeditated murder in the first degree, and 17 counts of attempted murder in the first degree. 

Among the factors that motivated prosecutors to file for the death penalty was the fact that Cruz created a risk of death for many people and that his crime was aimed at hindering "any government function or the enforcement of laws" and that the shooting was "especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel." 

"The capital felony was a homicide and was committed in a cold, calculated and premeditated manner without any pretense of moral or legal justification."

Cruz has previously signaled through his attorneys that he would be willing to plead guilty to avoid the death penalty. The filing by prosecutors doesn't necessarily mean a plea deal is out of reach for Cruz. 

The 19-year-old former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas was arrested shortly after allegedly committing the Valentine's Day killings and fleeing the school on foot. Seventeen students and faculty staff were killed during last month's mass shooting. 

The shooting, one of the deadliest school shootings since 2012, re-ignited a conversation about tougher gun laws in the United States with several survivors leading the charge. On Wednesday, March 14, one month after the shooting, students, teachers and allies across the nation plan on participating in a school walkout in solidarity with the survivors of the deadly mass shootings. 

Organizers of the walkout are demanding action on tougher laws, including a call for banning assault weapons, requiring universal background checks for gun sales, and a restraining order law that would allow courts to take guns away from anyone who demonstrated warning signs of violent behavior. 

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