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Parents of Parkland shooting victim sue U.S. government

The parents of a Parkland massacre victim are suing the U.S. government, claiming that the FBI should have acted on a tip that gunman Nikolas Cruz was ‘going to shoot up the school.’

Philip and April Schentrup, whose 16-year-old daughter Carmen was one of 17 executed by Cruz at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida last year, allege that the FBI failed in its duty to investigate the anonymous tip-off.

According to the legal complaint, a woman who knew Cruz said on the FBI’s tip line a month before the attack: ‘I know he’s going to explode,’ yet despite this the lawsuit states ‘the FBI failed to take any action whatsoever with the information it received.’ 

Tragic: Carmen was one of 17 students executed by Cruz at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida last year. Her parents, Philip and April Schentrup, have filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government, alleging they failed to investigate a tip-off that Cruz was a serious danger

The lawsuit lists a series of ‘red flags’ that the authorities failed to act on, alleging that numerous complaints about Cruz’s propensity for violence, including his hoarding of weapons, mental health issues and a stated desire to carry out an attack.

Among the litany of alleged failures by authorities include: 

  • In January 2013, Cruz’s mother, Lynda Cruz, called the Broward County Sheriff’s Office after her son threw her against a wall. She reported her son’s anger issues.
  • In February 2016, the Broward County sheriff received a report from an unnamed neighbor who said Cruz was posting photos of himself with guns on Instagram, and that he was expressing a desire to carry out a shooting.
  • In September 2016, a school resource officer reported to the sheriff’s office Cruz had ingested gasoline in an effort to commit suicide and was cutting himself. 
  • In September 2016, the Florida Department of Children and Families opened a case on Cruz, calling him ‘a vulnerable adult due to mental illness’ and The noted he said he planned to buy a gun, but ‘it is unknown what he is buying the gun for’.
  • In January 2017, Cruz was reported for an assault at Stoneman Douglas and referred for a threat assessment, according to the school’s discipline records. 
  • In February 2017, Cruz bought the AR-15 he used in the shooting from Sunrise Tactical Supply in Coral Springs, Florida. 
  • On November 30, 2017, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office received a tip from a caller in Massachusetts who said that Cruz was collecting guns and knives.  
  • One month before the shooting, the FBI received another tip warning that Cruz would commit a school shooting.

Listing more than 60 ‘red flags’ the complaint alleges that Cruz was well known to authorities and that multiple sources had reported him as a potential threat. 

Gifted and talented: Carmen was a gifted student who was named as a semifinalist in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program. She, along with 16 other students and faculty were slain by Cruz on February 14, 2018

Gifted and talented: Carmen was a gifted student who was named as a semifinalist in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program. She, along with 16 other students and faculty were slain by Cruz on February 14, 2018

Nikolas Cruz sits in the courtroom during a status hearing at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Nikolas Cruz sits in the courtroom during a status hearing at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Nikolas Cruz

Nikolas Cruz

On January 5, 2018, the lawsuit alleges that the FBI was contacted by a concerned member of the public who reported the then 18-year-old’s behaviour, warning that Cruz had ‘the mental capacity of a 12 to a 14-year-old’

On January 5, 2018, the lawsuit alleges that the FBI was contacted by a concerned member of the public who reported the then 18-year-old’s behaviour, warning that Cruz had ‘the mental capacity of a 12 to a 14-year-old.’

The caller said that Cruz’s mother had recently died and as a result the boy was behaving erratically, displaying violent and suicidal behaviour.  

She explained that Cruz had recently professed a desire to kill other people, and that he had posted such on his Instagram before deleting the declaration two days later. 

The caller also said that Cruz was ‘so into ISIS’ and that she was ‘afraid… something’s gonna happen.’  

She also alleged that Cruz, following the death of his mother, took money from her bank account and ‘brought [sic] all these rifles and ammunition and he posted pictures of them on the Instagram.’ 

Students hold their hands in the air as they are evacuated by police from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland

Students hold their hands in the air as they are evacuated by police from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland

Students hold their hands in the air as they are evacuated by police from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland

Students hold their hands in the air as they are evacuated by police from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland

Despite the extensive list of concerns, it is alleged that the FBI did not follow up and had even closed a previous file on him without investigation ‘without any further follow-up or alert to local law enforcement agencies.’

Cruz’s behaviour had prompted fear among those who knew him for at least two years before the shooting. 

The teenager regularly posted Instagram images of his weapons arsenal, including pistols and rifles, as well as sharing a gruesome image of a disemboweled frog he had killed.

According to the lawsuit, his school, the local sheriff’s office and the FBI were all made aware of his threatening behaviour but failed to properly act to prevent the massacre. 

The FBI had even received an email some five months before the attack alerting them  that somebody under the username ‘Nikolas Cruz’ had posted a comment on YouTube that said ‘I’m going to be a professional school shooter.’ 

Again, however, the lawsuit claims the FBI failed to properly investigate the claims.  

Suing under Florida’s Wrongful Death Statute, and the Federal Tort Claims Act, the Schentrups are seeking unspecified damages for their losses, including for ‘mental pain and suffering’, ‘medical and funeral expenses’ and ‘loss of earnings’.   

Deadly: Surveillance cameras caught the gunman stalking the halls of the Florida high school

Deadly: Surveillance cameras caught the gunman stalking the halls of the Florida high school

Warning signs: The disturbed teenager displayed a propensity for violence on Instagram

Warning signs: The disturbed teenager displayed a propensity for violence on Instagram

Buying weapons: The shooter did not hide his desire to purchase deadly weapons

Buying weapons: The shooter did not hide his desire to purchase deadly weapons 

Carmen was a gifted student who was named as a semifinalist in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program. 

She, along with 16 other students and faculty were slain by Cruz on February 14, 2018. 

In the aftermath of the shooting, it also emerged that former Broward Sheriff’s Deputy Scot Peterson failed to enter the school during the shooting.

Dubbed the ‘Broward Coward’, April Schentrup, tweeted at the time: ‘Scot Peterson, if you really wanted to ‘find’ the shooter, then you should have gone in the bldg and towards the sound of gunshots.

‘Not only that, you also prevented others from ‘finding’ him by telling them to stay away. We LOST OUR kids and loved ones!’

Family photo of Carmen Schentrup including her parents April and Philip Schentrup

Family photo of Carmen Schentrup including her parents April and Philip Schentrup

Distraught: April Schentrup spoke out against gun violence in the aftermath of the shooting

Distraught: April Schentrup spoke out against gun violence in the aftermath of the shooting

Parkland victims remembered: The 14 students and three teachers who died on February 14, 2018

Jaime Guttenberg, 14, was described by relatives as a 'kind-hearted, sweet' girl. She attended the school with her younger brother who survived and rushed home afterwards.

Senior Nicholas Dworet was a gifted swimmer who had his sights set on 2020 Tokyo Olympics success. His devastated college student girlfriend is among those grieving his death. Friends said he was not just a talented athlete, but a 'good guy' who will be missed

Jaime Guttenberg, 14, (left) was described by relatives as a ‘kind-hearted, sweet’ girl. Senior Nicholas Dworet (right) was a gifted swimmer who had his sights set on 2020 Tokyo Olympics success. His devastated college student girlfriend is among those grieving his death. Friends said he was not just a talented athlete, but a ‘good guy’ who will be missed

Martin Duque, 14, was a freshman

Meadow Pollack, 18, was preparing for college

Martin Duque, 14, (left) was a freshman. Meadow Pollack, 18, (right) was preparing for college

Cara Loughran, 14, loved Irish dancing and the beach

Alyssa Alhadeff, 15, was eulogized by her mother who said she was a talented soccer player and creative mind. 'All she had to offer the world was love... I just sent her to school and she was shot and killed'

Cara Loughran, 14, (left) loved Irish dancing and the beach. Alyssa Alhadeff, 15, (right) was eulogized by her mother who said she was a talented soccer player and creative mind. ‘All she had to offer the world was love… I just sent her to school and she was shot and killed’

Luke Hoyer, 15, was described as a 'precious' child by his grandparents, who said he was a 'good kid' who 'never got in trouble'

Joaquin Oliver, 17,  was a Venezuelan immigrant who came to the US with his family for a 'better future'

Luke Hoyer (left), 15, was described as a ‘precious’ child by his grandparents, who said he was a ‘good kid’ who ‘never got in trouble’. Joaquin Oliver, 17, (right), was a Venezuelan immigrant who came to the US with his family for a ‘better future’

Gina Montalto, 15, was described as a 'light and joy'. She  volunteered at a local project called The Friendship Initiative  as a buddy for children with special needs

Alaina Petty, 14, was also killed. Her Mormon church said she was a 'valiant' member

Gina Montalto, 15, (left) was described as a ‘light and joy’. She volunteered at a local project called The Friendship Initiative as a buddy for children with special needs. Alaina Petty, 14, (right) was also killed. Her Mormon church said she was a ‘valiant’ member

Carmen Schentrup, 16, was  a gifted student who last year was named as a semifinalist in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program

ROTC student Peter Wang, 15, also died.  Students said that Peter held the door open for others while they fled

Carmen Schentrup, 16, (left) was a gifted student who last year was named as a semifinalist in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program. ROTC student Peter Wang, 15, (right) also died. Students said that Peter held the door open for others while they fled

Alex Schachter, 14, was described by his father Max as a 'sweetheart of a child' who 'just wanted to do well and please his parents'

Helena Ramsey, 17, was described by relatives as a 'reserved' and studious girl who was due to go to college next year

Alex Schachter, 14, (left) was described by his father Max as a ‘sweetheart of a child’ who ‘just wanted to do well and please his parents’. Helena Ramsey, 17, (right) was described by relatives as a ‘reserved’ and studious girl who was due to go to college next year

Geography Scott Beigel, 35, was shot dead as he tried to lock the door of his classroom again after letting a group of fleeing students in to hide. They were running away from the gunman

Athletic director Chris Hixon, 49, was also killed shielding students

Geography Scott Beigel, 35, (left) was shot dead as he tried to lock the door of his classroom again after letting a group of fleeing students in to hide. They were running away from the gunman. Athletic director Chris Hixon, 49, (right) was also killed shielding students

Aaron Feis, 37, (center) died acting as a human shield. The track coach had thrown himself on top of the kids to stop the bullets from hitting him. He was a former student and was also a security guard at the school where he had worked for eight years

Aaron Feis, 37, (center) died acting as a human shield. The track coach had thrown himself on top of the kids to stop the bullets from hitting him. He was a former student and was also a security guard at the school where he had worked for eight years

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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