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US high school mass shooter pleads guilty to killing 17 people in 2018


A gunman pleaded guilty on Wednesday to killing 17 students and faculty members inside a high school in the state of Florida in 2018, and 17 additional counts of attempted murder.

Reporters in the courtroom described 23-year-old Nikolas Cruz as trembling and rushed when he said the shootings gave him nightmares.

"I am very sorry for what I did," he told the court, "and I have to live with it every day. If I were to get a second chance, I would do everything in my power to try to help others."

Cruz will not get that second chance. When he is sentenced, he faces a minimum of life in prison without the possibility of parole, and at maximum, he could face the death penalty.

He shot his victims with an assault rifle on Feb. 14, 2018, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. He was caught later that day and confessed to police but in court, he had always pleaded not guilty.

Cruz's lawyers had long said they wanted the death penalty removed as a possibility in exchange for Cruz's guilty plea -- an offer prosecutors had rejected. But last week, the defense team abruptly announced they would offer the guilty plea without any precondition, although they did not specify why.

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