College students and neighbours describe the suspect within the lethal rampage at a Florida highschool as a troubled teenager who threatened and harassed friends, talked about killing animals, posed with weapons in disturbing photographs on social media, and bragged about goal observe in his yard with a pellet gun.
Nikolas Cruz, 19, had been expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas Excessive Faculty for “disciplinary causes,” Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel mentioned, however he insisted he didn’t know the specifics.
Math instructor Jim Gard instructed the Miami Herald that earlier than Wednesday’s deadly capturing of 17 individuals, Cruz could have been recognized as a possible menace – Gard believes the varsity had despatched out an electronic mail warning lecturers that Cruz shouldn’t be allowed on campus with a backpack.
“There have been issues with him final yr threatening college students, and I assume he was requested to go away campus,” Gard instructed the paper.
FBI agent Rob Lasky says the FBI investigated a 2017 YouTube remark that mentioned “I’m going to be knowledgeable college shooter”; however the company couldn’t determine the individual making the remark.
Scholar Victoria Olvera, 17, mentioned Cruz had been abusive to his ex-girlfriend and that his expulsion was over a combat along with her new boyfriend. He’d been attending one other college in Broward County because the expulsion, college officers mentioned.
WATCH: Florida college capturing suspect arrives at Broward County jail
Cruz was an orphan — his mom, Lynda Cruz died of pneumonia Nov. 1 neighbors, family and friends members mentioned, based on the Solar Sentinel. Cruz and her husband, who died of a coronary heart assault years in the past, adopted Nikolas and his organic brother, Zachary, after the couple moved from Lengthy Island in New York to Broward County.
The boys have been left within the care of a household good friend after their mom died, member of the family Barbara Kumbatovich, of Lengthy Island, mentioned.
Sad there, Nikolas Cruz requested to maneuver in with a good friend’s household in northwest Broward. The household agreed, and Cruz moved in round Thanksgiving. In line with lawyer Jim Lewis, who represents however didn’t determine the household, they knew that Cruz owned the AR-15 however made him maintain it locked up in a cupboard and by no means noticed him go to a capturing vary with it. He did have the important thing, nevertheless.
Cruz handed a background examine and legally bought the assault weapon from a licensed vendor in February 2017, a regulation enforcement official aware of the investigation however not licensed to debate it publicly instructed The Related Press on situation of anonymity.
The household is devastated and shocked, lawyer Lewis mentioned. Throughout the three months Cruz lived there, he was respectful and quiet but in addition unhappy over his mom’s loss of life, Lewis instructed The AP.
WATCH: Video exhibits unique approach of arrest of alleged gunman after Florida college capturing
“No indication that something extreme like this was unsuitable,” Lewis mentioned. “Only a mildly troubled child who’d misplaced his mother. … He completely stored this from everyone.”
The household’s son was a junior on the college and was there when the capturing occurred, Lewis mentioned. The household is cooperating as their house is searched and nobody there may be suspected of wrongdoing, he added.
Longtime Cruz household neighbors Malcolm and Christine Roxburgh instructed the Solar Sentinel that the police got here to the boy’s home many instances, as he used to get in hassle and harass individuals. Malcolm Roxburgh mentioned a neighbor throughout the road stored pigs, and Nicolas Cruz focused the household.
“He didn’t just like the pigs and didn’t just like the neighbors, so he despatched over his canine over there to attempt to assault them,” Roxburgh mentioned.
His spouse mentioned she as soon as caught Nikolas peeking in her window. “I mentioned, ‘What are you doing right here?’ He mentioned he was in search of golf balls. I mentioned, ‘This isn’t the golf course,’” she mentioned.
And, the couple mentioned, when the boy didn’t wish to go to highschool, he would bang his head towards a cement wall. They have been petrified of him. “He may have killed any of us,” Christine Roxburgh mentioned.
WATCH: College students shocked as police burst into classroom with weapons drawn in Florida college capturing
Cruz was getting therapy at a psychological well being clinic for some time, however hadn’t been there for greater than a yr, Broward County Mayor Beam Furr mentioned throughout an interview with CNN.
“It wasn’t like there wasn’t concern for him,” Furr mentioned. “We attempt to maintain our eyes out on these youngsters who aren’t linked … Most lecturers attempt to steer them towards some form of connections. … On this case, we didn’t discover a solution to join with this child.”
Officers mentioned they’re dissecting the suspect’s disturbing social media posts, with out elaboration. However friends mentioned they acknowledged Cruz from an Instagram picture posing with a gun in entrance of his face. The scholars known as Cruz “bizarre” and a “loner” – even those that’d been pleasant with him mentioned they hadn’t seen him in additional than a yr since his expulsion.
Dakota Mutchler, 17, recalled Cruz posting on Instagram about killing animals and mentioned he had talked about doing goal observe in his yard with a pellet gun.
“He began going after one in every of my buddies, threatening her, and I reduce him off from there,” Mutchler mentioned.
He mentioned college students weren’t shocked officers had recognized Cruz because the shooter: “I feel everybody had of their minds if anyone was going to do it, it was going to be him.” Mutchler mentioned.
However Broward County Faculty District Superintendent Robert Runcie mentioned he didn’t know of any threats posed by Cruz to the varsity.
WATCH: Florida college capturing suspect had points with lecturers, ex-classmate says
“Usually you see in these conditions that there probably may have been indicators on the market,” Runcie mentioned. “I’d be speculating at this level if there have been, however we didn’t have any warnings. There weren’t any telephone calls or threats that we all know of that have been made.”
On Thursday morning, Cruz was charged with 17 counts of premeditated homicide after being questioned for hours by state and federal authorities. Weighing in at 5-foot-7 and 131 kilos and sporting a hospital robe after being handled for labored respiratory, he was ordered held with out bond and booked into jail.