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Florida school shooting suspect refused mental health services at 18, superintendent says

Trump slams Florida shooting response
Trump says Florida school shooting response was "disgusting" 02:59

PARKLAND, Fla. -- The suspect in the mass shooting at a Florida high school refused to let the school district continue providing him with mental health services after he turned 18, and the superintendent of schools said federal law kept officials from doing anything about it. Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie told the Sun Sentinel, "You can't make someone do something when the law says they have the right to make that determination."

Nikolas Cruz, now 19, is accused killing 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine's Day.

Cruz was transferred to a school with programs for emotionally and disabled students when he was in eighth grade but wanted to be mainstreamed back into his home school, Runcie said.

"He often perseverates on the idea that his current school is for students that are 'not smart' and that he can now handle being in 'regular' school," according to a Broward school system report from June 2015, the end of his ninth-grade year.

Starting in January 2016, Cruz was allowed to spend half his day at the alternative school and half at Stoneman Douglas to ease him into the less-structured environment.

In August 2016, he started back at Stoneman Douglas, but "the situation had deteriorated" by November, Runcie said. That's when Cruz, who had turned 18 in September 2016, refused the mental health services offered by the school. Runcie said Cruz had the support of his mother.

He remained at the school until February 2017, when school officials finally decided to remove him after unspecified behavior issues. He was told his only option was an alternative school.

Meanwhile, prosecutors and Cruz's defense lawyers reached an agreement on DNA and other samples that he will provide. In addition to DNA, prosecutors will get a hair sample from Cruz, as well as fingerprints and photographs.

Cruz, who has been charged with 17 counts of murder, is being held without bail at the Broward County Jail.

In a separate court matter, a judge has refused to step aside from the case as requested by Cruz's lawyers. Court records show that Broward County Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer denied the request Monday.

Cruz's lawyers claimed Scherer has made rulings and comments that indicate favoritism for prosecutors. They said in court papers that Cruz can't get a fair trial, but Scherer disagreed.

Cruz signed an affidavit in a barely legible printed scrawl that resembled the writing of a young child.

As the case moves through the courts, it has fueled a debate over gun control in the halls of the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee, hours from where the shooting took place in Parkland.

On Monday, a state Senate committee approved a bill Monday to raise the age for buying a gun from 18 to 21 and imposing a three-day waiting period for all gun purchases. The bill would also allow teachers to carry guns in schools if their school district approves and the teachers undergo law enforcement training and are deputized by the local sheriff's office.

Florida deputy defends decision to stay outside amid school shooting 02:23

About 300 gun safety advocates packed the room and dozens pleaded with senators to include an assault weapons ban in the bill. That idea was rejected on a 6-7 vote.

A similar House bill was going to be considered by a committee Tuesday.

In Washington, President Trump didn't mention an age-limit proposal on Monday when he met with a group of governors, including Florida's Rick Scott. The president has encouraged the idea, putting him on a collision course with the National Rifle Association, but he told the governors that sometimes elected officials have to fight the NRA.

CBS News chief White House correspondent Major Garrett reports that the Republican-led Congress, fearful of antagonizing its political base, isn't budging on some gun restrictions in part because it sees the president's low approval ratings and wonders if he can provide any practical political cover.

Students are scheduled to return to school Wednesday for the first time since the Feb. 14 shooting.

Rep. Steve Scalise on meeting with Florida school shooting survivors 05:41

The Florida House is expected to subpoena records from Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel and several agencies that interacted with Cruz. Scott's office has asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate the police response, and the agency confirmed it would begin the probe immediately.

Also Monday, the attorney for the sheriff's deputy assigned to guard the high school said that his client never entered the building to confront the suspect because he believed the gunfire was coming from outside.

Scot Peterson has been called a coward and worse for failing to stop the massacre. The criticism intensified as Mr. Trump blasted the deputy and other officers who were there, saying they "weren't exactly Medal of Honor winners."

Peterson's attorney issued his first public statement about the attack, saying it was "patently untrue" that the deputy failed to meet sheriff's department standards or acted with cowardice at the scene of the assault. He resigned after Israel said he felt sick to his stomach over his deputy's failure to intervene.

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