On February 14, 2018, Nicholas Cruz opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle at Stoneman Douglas High school in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 people and injuring 17 other.
Since his incarceration, 19-year-old Cruz became something of an icon to fascinated people across the country. Teenage girls, women, and even some men have been writing to Nikolas Cruz, showing him their support, offering their friendship, and sending him encouragement.
Some of them are sending their letters inside envelopes covered with hand-drawn hearts and happy faces. On March 15, he received a letter from a teenager who claimed to be attracted to him.
“I’m 18 years old. I’m a senior in High school. When I saw your picture on the television, something attracted me to you.”
“Your eyes are beautiful and the freckles on your face make you so handsome.” She continued, describing herself as a white girl with big brown eyes. “I’m really skinny and have 34C sized breasts.”
A woman from Chicago sent him nine photographs of herself, including a shot of her cleavage, one in her bikini, another one of her backside. In addition to the photos and obscene letters, some notes include words of support for the school shooter, complete with hearts and happy faces.
“No one else is dealing w/demons meaning maybe defeating them could be the beginning of your meaning friend, I know you could use a friend right now. Hang in there and keep your head up,” wrote an 18-year-old from New York.
Not only girls but men are also sending Cruz letters as well. One card came with a cat on the front from New York, with a sporty bushy gray mustache. He also enclosed photos of himself in his Nissan convertible.
So far none of the letters have reached Nikolas Cruz, as the 19-year-old school shooter is under suicide watch at the Broward County jail, and inmates on suicide watch are locked in bare cells by themselves.
The jail opens inmates’ mail, except legal mail (legal documents), and obscene mail or mail deemed to be a safety or security threat to staff is returned to the sender.
While Nicholas Cruz himself has not touched or read any letter, his lawyer has read a few choice ones to him.
“We read a few religious ones to him that extended wishes for his soul and to come to God, but we have not and will not read him the fan letters or share the photos of scantily-clad teenage girls,” said his lawyer, public defender Howard Finkelstein.
He said he worries that the boys and girls are starting to view him in an elevated way, and is concerned about the fame and notoriety that could be dangerous.
“The letters shake me up because they are written by regular, everyday teenage girls from across the nation, that scares me. It’s perverted.”
Nikolas Cruz’s fan’s club also extended to Facebook, a group of several people who talk about his case and how they can help him avoid the death penalty.
The secret group, “Nikolas Cruz for Punishment or Apologize” has over 1000 members. One young woman made a collage to send for the killer, she posted the image with the caption, “I want him to see how many people love and care for him and all the beautiful faces.”
The group describe its mission as “in complete support of Nikolas Cruz. Whether he did this, he was completely failed. He deserved to get the help he needs, and he deserves a fair trial.”
Some group members even created merchandise, featuring the hashtag, “#NikFam,” and other messages of support.
“Save Nikolas Cruz don’t let him die,” one of the page’s moderators wrote. “And how can I visit him in jail, I want to talk to him and let him know he’s not alone and there are some people that care for him.”
On the website, PrisonTalk.com, many of would-be Cruz pen pals are writing their messages, however, some of the fans don’t seem to understand their feelings.
“I feel bad for him and after reading about him I want to get to know him, so he’s not as lonely,” one person wrote. “[I don’t know] Why I feel like this because he committed an awful crime I can’t help it but I want to talk to him.”
Cruz’s lawyer said his office believes that Cruz should plead guilty to 34 consecutive life sentences to avoid a drawn-out trial and appeal process, which could last 20 or more years.
The letters may keep coming but the lawyer wants people to remember how tragic the case really is.
“It’s important that the community understand that as this case continues, the awfulness will continue to spread,” “Everything about this case is awful and evil,” Finkelstein said.
Read about the woman who fell in love with Ted Bundy while he was on a death trial.