Families are grieving a Florida jury's decision to sentence Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz to life without parole instead of death. Judge Elizabeth A. Scherer announced the jury's decision Thursday to a tearful courtroom less than a day after the jury began deliberations.

Parkland school shooter Cruz capital murder trial
Parkland school shooter Cruz capital murder trial Reuters

Cruz previously pleaded guilty to fatally shooting 17 people and injuring 17 others on Feb. 14, 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Cruz's attorney, assistant public defender Melisa McNeill, urged the jury to spare his life because he was a "broken, brain-damaged mentally ill young man" as a result of his mother's drug and alcohol use during pregancy.

Prosecutor Michael Satz called the murders "heinous, atrocious and cruel" while arguing for the death penalty.

Max Schachter, the father of 14-year-old Alex who was killed, posted on Twitter that [Cruz] "got everything he wanted. While our loved ones are in the cemetery."

Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter Jamie was also killed said "the decision today only makes it more likely that the next mass shooting would be attempted."

Ilan Alhadeff, whose 14-year-old daughter Alyssa was killed, said he was "disgusted" with the legal system and jurors during a press conference following the verdict.

"I am disgusted with those jurors," Ilan Alhadeff said.

He also said "[Cruz] is not a human being—he's an animal."

His wife, Lori Alhadeff added, "I'm so disappointed and frustrated... I just don't understand."

Tony Montalto, whose 14-year-old daughter Gina was killed said that the "shooter did not deserve compassion," because it "puts all school children in jeopardy."