US & World

Florida shooting updates: Suspect in brief court hearing

Nikolas Cruz appears in court for a status hearing before Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer on February 19, 2018 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Cruz is facing 17 charges of premeditated murder in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Nikolas Cruz appears in court for a status hearing before Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer on February 19, 2018 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Cruz is facing 17 charges of premeditated murder in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Mike Stocker-Pool/Getty Images

Florida school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz has appeared in court for a procedural hearing.

Cruz said nothing at Monday's hearing in Broward County Circuit Court, which he attended wearing a prison jumpsuit. He kept his head down and did not appear to make eye contact with the judge or others in the courtroom, though he responded briefly to someone on the defense team at the end of the hearing.

The hearing concerned the rules going forward of how documents would be sealed. Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer said she was in favor of openness whenever possible.

Cruz is charged with killing 17 people and wounding many others in Wednesday's attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which he once attended. His lawyers have said he will plead guilty if prosecutors agree not to pursue the death penalty. No decision has been made on that.

State Sen. Bill Galvano, a Republican and incoming Senate president, says the Florida Senate is preparing a sweeping package of legislation in the aftermath of the deadly shooting.

The legislation includes new age restrictions for gun purchases, a ban on bump stocks and gun violence restraining orders.

The Senate is considering a wide array of measures that also include boosting spending on mental health programs for schools and giving law-enforcement greater power to involuntarily hold someone considered a danger to themselves.

The White House says President Donald Trump supports efforts to improve the federal gun background check system.

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday that the president had spoken to Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, about a bipartisan bill designed to strengthen the FBI database of prohibited gun buyers.

Sanders said, "While discussions are ongoing and revisions are being considered, the President is supportive of efforts to improve the Federal background check system."

The bill would penalize federal agencies that fail to provide the necessary records and reward states that comply with federal grant preferences and other incentives.

Trump has been a strong supporter of gun rights and the National Rifle Association.

The couple who took in the Florida school shooting suspect after his mother died says he told them he was sorry after the shooting.

Speaking Monday on ABC's "Good Morning America," James and Kimberly Snead said they've only seen Nikolas Cruz once since the shooting when they briefly saw him at the police station.

Kimberly Snead says she yelled at him and "really wanted to strangle him more than anything." The couple says Cruz told them he was sorry.

The Sneads also said the person who's been shown to the world since the shootings isn't the person they knew when he lived with them. They said Cruz was very polite and followed all their rules.

Student survivors of the deadly Florida school shooting who hope to become the face of a revived gun control movement are on a potential collision course with President Trump.

Several of the students have criticized the president, whose election was strongly supported by the NRA and who ran on a platform opposing gun control.

Trump spent the weekend in South Florida, only an hour's drive from Stoneman Douglas High School. His only mentions of the massacre came in tweets Saturday contending the FBI was too focused on the Russia investigation to respond to warnings about the alleged shooter and mocking Democrats for failing to pass gun control.