Confessed Parkland shooter’s trial for jailhouse altercation on hold following deputy’s DUI arrest

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - A trial involving an alleged fight between confessed Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz and a Broward Sheriff’s Office corrections deputy has been put on hold after the deputy was arrested in Washington state for driving under the influence.

Sgt. Raymond Beltran is accused of driving under the influence while in the Pacific Northwest while on official business in March 2019.

Beltran was in the area transporting a prisoner when, police said, he was pulled over for speeding and making illegal lane changes.

Police said Beltran failed the field sobriety test and refused a breathalyzer test, so a court order was issued and his blood was drawn. According to the arrest report, Beltran had a blood-alcohol level of .15 — almost twice the legal limit in Washington.

“State law says all vehicles have to be towed for DUI in Washington, and unfortunately, it’s mandatory for us …” an officer told Beltran.

“You’re taking me to jail for real?” Beltran asked.

“I’m going to take you to jail, man,” the officer replied. “I’m taking the breathalyzer to our precinct.”

Cruz appeared in a Broward County courtroom on Monday, where the incident played out in front of a judge.

“The charges in this case, they are based on an altercation between Mr. Cruz and a BSO Corrections deputy,” defense attorney Joseph Burke said.

Beltran, a corrections deputy, said he was attacked by Cruz at the Broward County Jail in November 2018.

The deputy has alleged he told Cruz to pick up his feet. After that, words were exchanged, and Cruz came at Beltran and punched him in the face and grabbed his stun gun, according to court documents.

Cruz faces additional charges relating to the incident, including battery on a law enforcement officer, and that trial was supposed to start on Jan. 27.

However, because of this DUI, Beltran, according to defense attorneys, did not answer questions when he was deposed.

“I’m not objecting to anything,” Assistant State Attorney Maria Schneider said. “He asserted his right. He has a pending case elsewhere. I have nothing to do with it.”

In the meantime, according to a BSO internal affairs memo, Beltran has been reassigned while the other case against Cruz seems to have been delayed as well.

“This is just another example of how this is — I believe at this point more and more — appears to be just a delay tactic,” Schneider said.

Another hearing in this case has been scheduled for Jan. 27 at 10:30 a.m.

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