Although a motive for the recent shooting in Parkside, Florida, remains unclear, a lot of attention has come across shooter Nikolas Cruz’s social media accounts.
What happened with Cruz’s social media accounts
According to CNN, Cruz had written social media posts so controversial that he was twice reported to the FBI.
Reportedly, he wrote out slurs against blacks and Muslims. said he would shoot people with his AR-15, singled out police and anti-fascist protesters and claimed he aspired to become a “professional school shooter.”
According to Palm Beach Post, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel discussed what was found online in the following statement:
“We already began to dissect his websites and the things on social media that he was on and some of the things … are very, very disturbing.”
In a statement that has been shared on social media, Instagram released the following statement in light of Cruz’s account on the site being taken down:
“This is a terrible tragedy and our hearts go out to the people who have been affected. There is absolutely no place on our platforms for people who commit such horrendous acts. We have found and immediately deleted the shooter’s accounts on Facebook and Instagram.”
In one social media post in which Cruz discussed talking about buying a gun, it had read, “I plan on getting this but I need more information on it so if someone could give advice on how much I’m spending and background cheeks [sic] please to god let me know.”
Another post reportedly read the Arabic phrase “Allahu Akbar” alongside a Muslim slur. Another post featured a target that had been shot with the caption, “Group Therapy.”
What do we know about Cruz?
Sheriff Scott Israel on shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz: "He is 19 years old. He was born in 1998, in September. He was a former student of Douglas High School. He got expelled for disciplinary reasons. I don't know the specifics." https://t.co/1Y5NBGZMdE pic.twitter.com/50arcfyLuy
— CBS News (@CBSNews) February 14, 2018
Cruz was believed to have been a former student of the school that was the site of the shooting, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. According to authorities, he was an expelled student, due to disciplinary actions, although the exact details of the situation are unclear at this time.
His adoptive mother had died a year beforehand and he was living with a local family that took him in. He is believed to have been enrolled in a GED course and was working at a local Dollar Tree.
According to CNN, an attorney for that family has said that they were aware that Cruz had a gun but kept “it locked up, and believed that that was going to be sufficient, that there wasn’t going to be a problem.” He explained further in the following statement:
“This family did what they thought was right, which was take in a troubled kid and try to help him, and that doesn’t mean he can’t bring his stuff into their house. They had it locked up and believed that that was going to be sufficient, that there wasn’t going to be a problem. Nobody saw this kind of aggression or motive in this kid, that he would ever do anything like this.”
The ‘Republic of Florida’ leader claims Cruz had ‘trouble with a girl’
The leader of a white nationalist militia called the Republic of Florida, Jordan Jereb, has told the Associated Press that Cruz was a member of his group and participated in exercises in Tallahassee, although he claimed that he did not know him personally. In addition, according to WBAL, Jereb has said that Cruz “acted on his own behalf” and is “solely responsible for what he just did.”
In addition, Jereb explained that, while the group wants Florida to become its own white ethnostate, the group does not advocate participating in the modern world, instead preferring to hold “spontaneous random demonstrations.”
Trying to give Cruz a motive, he highlighted the shooter having “trouble with a girl” and suggested that the shooting occurring on Valentine’s Day was not a coincidence.
Despite Jereb’s comments, local authorities do not believe in a connection between Cruz and the group. According to Tallahassee, Lt. Grady Jordan said the following:
“We are still doing some work but we have no known ties between the ROF, Jordan Jereb or the Broward shooter.”