Florida prosecutors seeking death penalty in school shooting

The Latest: Survivors' dad reacts to prosecutor's decision

Facing Death Penalty, School Shooting Suspect in Court

Florida prosecutors intend to seek the death penalty against the 19-year-old suspect in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The office of Broward County State Attorney Michael Satz filed the formal notice Tuesday.

The state of Florida will seek the death penalty against Nikolas Cruz, who allegedly killed 17 people in the Parkland High School shooting.

The announcement came almost a week after Cruz was indicted by a grand jury on 34 counts of premeditated murder and attempted murder for the February 14 massacre, which killed 17 people and injured the same number. If Cruz is convicted, the only other possible sentence he can serve is life in prison without parole. Since 1976, when the death penalty was reinstated, 92 convicts have been executed in the state; only three were convicted in Broward County.

In court filings Tuesday, prosecutors also said Cruz put people at risk of death and hindered "any government function or enforcement of laws".

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Cruz's attorneys had last week filed court documents withdrawing a not guilty plea filed on his behalf, saying that instead he would stand mute in response to the charges.

But standing mute neither denies nor confirms the allegations, and allows his defense attorneys to proceed without appearing to disrespect the victims.

Meanwhile, a student who is credited with saving the lives of 20 students by attempting to close and lock a classroom door during the attack was improving at a hospital. Weeks after being shot, he fell critically ill of an intestinal infection.

Broward Health spokeswoman Jennifer Smith said Tuesday that Anthony Borges' condition has now been upgraded to fair. The boy's intestinal area has been sealed off and he is breathing on his own after being taken off a ventilator, family attorney Alex Arreaza said.

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