On Wednesday, at least 17 people were killed at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that is located in Parkland, when a 19-year-old allegedly started to open fire using an AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle. Police said that the man was carrying “countless” magazines of ammunition,
However, as a photo of the suspect started to emerge, Jim Gard, a math teacher, said that there had been some “problems with him last year threatening students” and that the man had been requested to leave.
He told the Miami Herald that a Senior staff had sent an email to teachers to warn the others “that he wasn’t allowed on campus with a backpack on him.”
Some fellow students claimed that they had joked about Cruz being a killer in the future, with one informing WFOR-TV that “A lot of people were saying it was going to be him. A lot of kids threw jokes around saying that he was going to be the one to shoot up the school. It turns out that everyone predicted it.”
A student who fled the attack on Wednesday, Daniel Huerfano, said that he recognised Cruz from a photo on Instagram where he was photographed with a gun in front of his face. He added that “He was that weird kid that you see … like a loner.”
A 17-year-old junior named Dakota Mutchler said that he used to be close friends with Cruz. However, had not seen him in over a year after his expulsion from the school, and that “he started progressively getting a little more weird.”
Mutchler recalled some Instagram post of Cruz about killing animals and said that he had talked about doing some target practice in his backyard using a pellet gun.
He added: “He started going after one of my friends, threatening her, and I cut him off from there.”
Another student said that Cruz had been allegedly abusive towards one of his former girlfriends.
On his Instagram profile were images of numerous guns and knives. One photo showed a box with 150 rifle rounds and another asked advice on purchasing a shotgun.
A photo that was originally tweeted by a local ESPN radio reporter revealed Cruz at the moment of his arrest wearing a t-shirt of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). Sources of the Police informed the New York Post that he was a member of the junior ROTC group of the US Army.
Scott Israel, the Broward County Sheriff, said that Cruz had been expelled because of “disciplinary reasons.” However, he said that he does not know the specifics.
Beam Furr, the mayor of the county, informed CNN that Cruz had undergone some mental health treatment. However, he had not attended a clinic for over a year.
The Orlando Sentinel quoted some of his family members as revealing that Cruz had been adopted at birth with his brother by Roger and Lynda Cruz. The paper said that Roger Cruz died a number of years ago and Mrs Cruz died last November.
Barbara Kumbatovich, her sister-in-law, informed the Sentinel that Mrs Cruz had requested for a counselling for Nikolas Cruz when he was younger. She added that the boys were left in the care of a family friend following the death of their mother.
However, he was unhappy there and asked to move in with a family of one of his friend in north-west Broward. The family then agreed, and Cruz was able to move in around Thanksgiving.
According to the lawyer of the family, who did not name them, they knew about the possession of Cruz of the AR-15. However, he made him keep it locked inside a cabinet. However, he did have the key to the cabinet.
Jim Lewis, the lawyer, said that the family was crushed and was willingly cooperating with the police. He said that they had not seen the tragedy coming.