Nikolas Cruz Signs Over Rights to His Name to Parkland Survivor

Anthony Borges, who was a freshman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018 when he was severely wounded by a rampaging gunman, has been given the rights to his attacker’s name as part of a stunning civil settlement, according to his lawyer.

The result of the negotiated settlement will mean that Borges has the final say over where, when, and how Nikolas Cruz speaks publicly about the Parkland shooting, including to authors, journalists, and documentarians, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported on Thursday.

“He signed over any rights to his name,” Borges’ lawyer, Alex Arreaza, told the newspaper. “The idea now is to shut him out. He will not be the one who decides when or how the story gets told.”

It was Arreaza who coaxed Cruz, now 25 and serving 34 consecutive life sentences in a Florida prison, into handing over his rights to his name. He also convinced the gunman to agree to donate his brain for medical research after his death.

“What turns a person into Nikolas Cruz?” Arreaza asked. “Was it something that we can learn by studying his brain?”

Borges was not present at the Zoom meeting where the lawyer and Cruz hashed out the settlement. But his father, Royer Borges, was, and told the Sun Sentinel that he felt “after what he took from my son, whatever he owns in this world, we should take it from him.”

Borges, now 21, testified against Cruz at his sentencing trial in 2022, at one point lifting up his shirt to show the court his gunshot wounds. He was in the courtroom to hear Cruz’s apology to his victims. He told reporters later that he had accepted it, but that the gunman’s fate was not up to him.

“He made a decision to shoot the school,” Borges said. “I am not God to make the decision to kill him or not. That’s not my decision. My decision is to be a better person and to change the world for every kid. I don’t want this to happen to anybody again. It hurts. It hurts. It really hurts. So, I am just going to keep going. That’s it.”

Borges was 15 when Cruz shot him five times in the abdomen, lungs, and legs on Feb. 14, 2018 as he tried to shield his classmates. Hailed as a hero, Borges underwent more than a dozen operations and spent two months in a hospital, narrowly avoiding becoming the 18th victim of the massacre.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz.

POOL

He and his family have said that his physical and psychological injuries will require a lifetime of treatment, something that spurred their decision to split from the families of the 17 victims and dozens of others who were wounded in the massacre, who were suing the Broward County School District as a group.

The plaintiffs reached a $26 million settlement with the district in Oct. 2021. It was not announced at the time how the money would be divided, but the families of the 14 students and three staff killed were expected to get the bulk of it, equally split.

A few days later, Arreaza announced that Borges had reached a settlement in his own lawsuit against the district. The Sun Sentinel reported at the time that he would get $1.25 million, a sum Arreaza said was far larger than he would have received had he not pursued his own separate complaint.

In a recent interview with the Sun Sentinel, Borges said he had no interest in leveraging Cruz’s name for his own gain, now that he has it. “I’m not with that mentality,” he said.

This post was originally published on Daily Beast

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