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COCONUT CREEK (CBSMiami/AP) – The Coconut Creek police officer who spotted confessed Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and took him into custody has been honored.

The Coconut Creek Police Department awarded Officer Michael Leonard with its Medal of Valor this week for arresting Cruz, who’s charged with killing 17 people at the school on February 14th.

Leonard had responded to the school, but after learning the suspect had fled, began patrolling nearby neighborhoods. He spotted Cruz walking about a mile from the school wearing a burgundy shirt and black pants, which the shooter had worn. Leonard pulled up, drew his handgun and ordered Cruz to the ground.

The now 20-year-old suspect has pleaded not guilty, but his attorneys say he would plead guilty for a life sentence. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)