Nikolas Cruz pours his heart out in love letters from jail cell: ‘I really want kids … You know the joy they bring’

In childlike scrawl with stick figure drawings, Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz has been writing love letters from jail to a young woman overseas. In the letters, he proposes marriage, muses about having children and says he wants to name his sons after guns. But he never mentions shooting 34 people in cold blood — killing 17 of them — at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The South Florida Sun Sentinel obtained 46 pages of Cruz’s handwritten letters from the Broward State Attorney’s Office. They are part of the legal case, as the state attorney seeks the death penalty against the now-20-year-old for the Feb. 14, 2018, Parkland shooting. The records did not include any letters to Cruz from the girl.

Cruz never mentions his own crime, saying in one of the letters that talking about it “would be a bad idea.” But he does tell his female pen pal to listen to “Pumped Up Kicks” by the band Foster the People, a song about a school shooting that includes the lyrics “You’d better run, better run, outrun my gun. Better run, better run, faster than my bullet.”

Inexplicably, Cruz expresses hope he’ll one day be released from jail and have a family. Yet he faces the death penalty, and his lawyers already have offered life in prison without a chance of parole.

“I really want kids. I think of it all the time, you know the joy they bring,” he writes.

He said he would name his sons Kalashnikov, Makarov and Remington — all gun references — and “my wife can name the girls.”

Cruz’s letters are to a young woman in the United Kingdom named Miley, one of his cyber-supporters, and her brother, Liam, and they are dated from mid-October 2018 to mid-November. Miley helped form a Facebook group shortly after the shooting. It was called “The First Victim,” referring to Cruz. Her last name is not shown in the letters.

He says he isn’t sure he wants to remain alive.

HOLIDAYS: The Fourth of July is his favorite holiday. “I love fireworks and the explosions. It’s super fun.”

HALLOWEEN: “This will be the first year I won’t go trick or treating, unfortunately.” He said he dressed as a soldier the year before, wearing body armor and a ballistic helmet. He took his dog Kobe with him. His mother was in the hospital. She died the next day.

TARGETS: He bragged about his prowess in shooting, saying “mom was very happy when I won a medal.” Cruz was a member of the JROTC shooting team. “It wasn’t until I was in JROTC that my shooting skills improved. I was in the marksmanship team in Stoneman Douglas. We used to shoot pellet guns in the class room. It was really fun. We set up targets the size of quarters. I was really good at it.”

POLITICS: Cruz wrote several times about the elections and his hope that Republicans would win — specifically Gov. Ron DeSantis and Sen. Rick Scott. “I can’t spell his name but I know he’s Republican and I’m voting for him,” he wrote about DeSantis. “I know if we get a Democratic governor he will take away our rights. … Please pray that Ron wins.” “I really don’t like liberals. I don’t want them winning. They really are dangerous. They spread lies and are destroying America. We’re going to one day be the weakest country with the highest crime rates.” “Are you liberal or conservative? Let me know.”

LIFE: “What is your outlook on life?” he asked in one letter. “Mine is go live the best way you can. So please let me know. I really want to know all your dreams.”

SPORTS: “You’re probably wondering what my favorite sport is, well it’s hunting, and professional bull riding.”

GIRLS: “I also like girls with red hair and a positive outlook on life.”

COLOR: His favorite color is “Army green and woodland camouflage.”

JAIL LIFE: He said life in jail is boring. “I watch TV and do homework.” He said it’s easy to gain weight. Guards pat him down every four hours. “What’s your day like?” he asks.

HOMELESSNESS: He said he liked helping the homeless and once gave a homeless man a cheeseburger and fries.

FOOD: He mentions in several letters that he puts peanut butter and jelly on meatball subs.

CANDY: Cruz spends money buying candy bars from the commissary. “I bought lots of candy and about to eat it and no I’m not going to split my Kit Kats. I like eating them whole haha!”

IMMIGRANTS: “I hear there’s a reason why wear trying to stop immigration and that’s [unreadable word]. They attack people, destroy property’s and spread diseas.” He said he is waiting for the whole society to collapse “because of these issues.”

MEDIA: He asked if the news media in the United Kingdom is “like hear with a bunch of lies or are they honest?”

DIPLOMA: Cruz says he is working to get his high school equivalency, the GED.

EMOTIONS: “I’ve been dealing with my emotions heer in jail. Their is this one guard I don’t like but I’m behaving to the best of my ability but I’m starting to [unreadable word]. Do you know any way how I can deal with that so I don’t get in trouble?”

GLASSES: He talks about gaining weight in jail and about getting new glasses that look like they’re from the 1960s. “So don’t laugh at them when you see me on TV,” he writes.

Cruz regales the girl he’s never met with stories from his childhood, including a recent hunting trip with his friend, Hunter McCutcheon, during which he says he almost shot his friend’s father.

“We were shooting bug nest with bird shot. It was a lot of fun until he handed me shotgun and I almost shot him! He told me not to shoot but I did and I almost hit him but thank God I didn’t. He said to be more careful cause once I take a life there’s nothing that can be undone. Hunter was mad at me to but he got over it.”

Cruz wrote that his attorneys said Miley will attend his trial. He goes on to say he’s hungry and will be having a peanut butter sandwich.

Reached on social media, Miley said she wants to see changes in mental health care, and her life has been impacted by autism.

“I in no way condone what Nikolas has done,” she said. “ … My heart breaks for everyone.”

Cruz seemed to retain hope he’d get out of jail one day.

“Since I am into your sister maybe we can go on a double date,” he wrote to Miley’s brother, Liam.

In another, he talked about spending time in the Everglades.

“I wish you could experience it with me. Maybe one day.”

“I hate it hear,” he wrote in another letter. “I wish I could leave and move to the mountains and live alone with some equipment that allow me to live off the land. I hope one day I’ll be able to do that, but time will tell.”

Brittany Wallman can be reached at or 954-356-4541. On Twitter @BrittanyWallman