On Wednesday, February 14, 17-year-old Nikolas Cruz opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, killing 17 people and injuring dozens more. Cruz legally purchased the AR-15 rifle he used in the shooting about a year ago.
Cruz was adopted by his mother, Lynda Cruz. More than three months ago, on November 1, Lynda Cruz died after battling the flu and pneumonia. According to CNN, Cruz’s father died over a decade ago due to a heart attack. Cruz’s cousin, Kathie Blaine, said she had last seen Lynda Cruz about 20 years ago and had never met Nikolas Cruz.
When asked who Cruz lived with since both of his adoptive parents had died, she said: “Nikolas was on his own. He is 19. He was an adult on his own. It’s really at this point, I don’t understand it any more than anyone else does. I can’t believe it. I can’t believe any of these school shootings. I never met him.”Cruz had been living with a friend’s family since his mother died last year, Jim Lewis, a Ft. Lauderdale attorney who represents the family, told CNN affiliate WPEC.
Furthermore, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said Cruz’s digital profile contained what he called “very, very disturbing” content. He had a variety of gun and violence-related postings on social media sites.
Who Is Nikolas Cruz?
He is described as being 5″8″, with ginger, red hair and freckles. According to different reports, his surname is given as both “Cruise” or “Cruz.” Similarly, different accounts have given different spellings of Cruz’s first name: “Nicholas,” “Nikolas” and “Nicolas.” He is also believed to be 19 years of age.
At this time, it is believed that he is a former student of the school; some reports identified him as an “alternative” and “problematic” student. According to initial reports, he was seen covered by a gas mask, also wearing a black hat, pants and a dark brown shirt.
According to some reports, Cruz could be seen and heard “yelling, kicking and talking to himself” while in police custody. This had lead to speculation on social media that he had some form of mental illness.
Reportedly, Cruz could later be seen on a gurney while being transported to a local hospital, according to CBS News.
According to The Miami Herald, a teacher identified as Jim Gard, who said Cruz had been in his class last year, have the following statement:
“We were told last year that he wasn’t allowed on campus with a backpack on him…There were problems with him last year threatening students, and I guess he was asked to leave campus.”
Superintendent Robert Runcie also gave the following statement according to the same publication:
“We received no warnings…Potentially there could have been signs out there. But we didn’t have any warning or phone calls or threats that were made.”