Yesterday a 19-year-old former student named Nikolas Cruz returned to the high school he had been expelled from for disciplinary reasons, and went on a shooting rampage. He killed at least 17 people and wounded dozens more. He has been charged with premeditated murder.
Investigators say the suspect pulled a fire alarm at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida to draw people out of their classrooms and get a high death count.
He also is thought to have concealed himself among the hundreds of students who ran from the school after the massacre, according to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office. State and federal investigators were able to identify Cruz as the shooter from security videos. They found him in the neighborhood of Coral Springs near the school. Police arrested him without a fight. He is currently talking to investigators.
Now, details are starting to come out about the suspect, including a disturbing social media profile that makes many wonder why something was not done to intervene
Disturbing Digital Life Uncovered
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel told the media yesterday at his digital profile had highly disturbing content. Cruz had many violence and gun related postings on various social media sites. The postings were made under the name Nikolas Cruz and included threatening comments on Youtube videos and other sites. He posted things such as ‘I wanna shoot people with my AR-15’ and “I wanna die fighting killing a s*it ton of people.’ He also said ‘I am going to kill law enforcement one day they go after the good people.’
Some students remember him posting in Instagram about killing animals. He also talked about doing target practice at home with a pellet gun. The police said after the shooting that the young man got treatment at a mental health center for a few months but he had not gone back for more than a year.
On Cruz’s Instagram page, Cruz posted a picture of a shotgun. In another photo, he is seen brandishing a pistol that is some type of BB gun. In other photos he covered his face with a rage and brandishes long knives. Police say Cruz committed the massacre with an AR-15 style rifle and had several full magazines on him. He also had a gas mask and smoke grenades.
The shooter bought the gun in the last year and passed the background check to buy it, according to federal officials.
Troubled School Life But Had Good Grades
Cruz was expelled from the high school in the last two years for unspecified disciplinary problems, state officials said yesterday. He did not seem to have many friends and usually was by himself at school. However, people said that when he was given the chance, he liked to talk. This was according to a high school senior who was in a group project with him. The youth added that Cruz always seemed quiet and strange. He tried to avoid him, but when he was assigned to work with him, Cruz did talk to him.
Cruz was apparently involved in the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) program and his name was listed under several 2016 awards. These included academic achievement for keeping an A average in JROTC. He also got an award for keeping a B average in other academic subjects and keeping an outstanding appearance and conduct in school.
Family Life Also Troubled
Cruz was adopted by Lynda Cruz, according to a family member. But less than three months ago, she passed away from flu and pneumonia. Cruz’s father died more than 10 years ago from a heart attack. The cousin said she had last seen Lynda 20 years ago and never met her son.
When she was asked who Cruz had lived with since both of his parents died, she said that the young man lived on his own. He lived as an adult on his own. She added that she cannot believe that he did it, but she did not know him and never met him.
Cruz lived with a family of a friend since his mother passed away, according to the family’s attorney. The family agreed to take him in after the young man’s mother died last November. Cruz was friends with the son of the family who attended the high school with him.
The attorney said that the family offered to help him because he had nowhere else to go. The attorney spoke outside the home of the family. They are cooperating with the investigation and let the FBI search the home and they answered all of their questions. The family also gave the police keys to the home, gave them their cell phones and allowed them into their gun safe.
The attorney noted the family is heartbroken and their son knows many of the people who died. The family cared for Cruz and really wanted to help him.
Masacre Inside the School
A sheriff said that 12 bodies of the deceased were found inside the school. One of them was Aaron Feis, who was a beloved football coach and security guard. He stepped in front of a spray of bullets to protect several students.
A math teacher at the high school said that Cruz had been identified a year earlier as a potential threat to other students. He said he thinks the school sent out an email warning teachers that the man should not be allowed with a backpack at the school. The teacher said there were several problems with him last year threatening students.
Former classmates said Cruz had a bad temper and had a long history of making gun related jokes. He was remembered as having a lot of anger management problems.
The Florida massacre has left the town reeling with grief. As the shooting occurred, parents drove frantically to the school and lined a nearby road waiting to hear about their loved ones. The Florida governor met with victims’ families after the massacre and said they had his deepest condolences.