1. ‘I’m going to be a professional school shooter’
Nikolas Cruz left a comment on a YouTube video back in September using his own name that simply read: ‘I’m going to be a professional school shooter’
2. FBI was warned about the comment but couldn’t identify him
Vlogger Ben Bennight alerted the FBI to the comment shared by Cruz. The FBI was quick to respond, arriving at his office the next day but only after Bennight called a local field agent, revealing his initial attempts to send in a screengrab of the comment failed when the email address he found listed on the agency’s website came back with a domain error saying it did not exist. The FBI was unable to identify the person who posted the comment.
3. Bought an AR-15 age 18
After Cruz’s mother died, he eventually moved in the the family of a former classmate, where he brought his AR-15 which was kept in a locked cabinet that he had the key to. He was able to purchase the rifle in the past year and passed a required background check. Federal law allowed people 18 and over to legally purchase long guns. At 21, people can legally buy handguns from a license dealer. Cruz was also studying marksmanship in the Army Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps.
4. Troubling Instagram page
Cruz’s Instagram page is filled with disturbing posts of what appears to be himself showing off with weapons with his face covered, asking for advice on buying firearms, and making racist comments about Muslims.
5. Was a member of a white nationalist group and came to training exercises
Jordan Jereb claims that Cruz was a member of the Republic of Florida, which aims to make Florida its own white-entho state. Jereb claimed Cruz, who was adopted, was brought up in the organization by another member and he reportedly carpooled to at least two training exercises held by the group.
6. Boasted about hurting animals
Students who say they knew Cruz claimed he liked to kill animals.
‘He was crazy because he liked to kill small things, like little animals – frogs and other animals like that and he just had a crazy mind,’ one told 10ABC news.
Another classmate claims he would tell him he shot rats with a BB gun.
7. Took knives and bullets to school
Former classmate Joshua Charo, 16, said all he ‘would talk about is guns, knives and hunting’.
Another student said he started selling knives out of a lunchbox when he started high school, while he was also found to be carrying bullet casings in his bag.
8. Was banned from carrying a backpack
Jim Gard, a math teacher, who had Cruz in his class last year, said he believes the school sent out an email warning teachers he shouldn’t be allowed on campus with a backpack.
‘There were problems with him last year threatening students and I guess he was asked to leave campus’.
9. Expelled for fighting
The deeply troubled ‘loner’ was expelled last year for ‘fighting over his ex-girlfriend’ with her new boyfriend.
10. Abusive to his ex-girlfriend
Students claim the gunman was abusive to his girlfriend
11. Stalked another girl
Mr Gard also claimed that he was taken with another student ‘to the point of stalking her’, while another student who claims to have been friends with Cruz said he had to cut him off because he started ‘going after’ and ‘threatening’ a female friend of his.
12. Peeping Tom
Neighbor Christine Rosburgh said she, and all the other neighbors, were terrified of the teen who would bang his head against a cement wall if his legal guardians tried to send him to school.
She also claims she caught him peeking in her window and when she confronted him, he said he was looking for golf balls.
‘I said, “This isn’t the golf course”.
13. Stopped his mental health treatment
Cruz had been getting treatment at a mental health clinic, but stopped about a year ago and dropped off the radar. He was showing signs of depression.
Broward County Mayor Beam Furr said: ‘It wasn’t like there wasn’t concern for him. We try to keep out eyes out on those kids who aren’t connected… In this case, we didn’t find a way to connect with this kid.’
14. Possible fetal alcohol syndrome
Natalie Brassard, a program director at the non-profit FASCETS, which works with FASD children, said some of Cruz’s characteristics ‘suggest that he might have been living with an invisible brain-based condition – it could have been FASD or many others.’
Conditions of FASD can range from mild to severe but can include learning disabilities, intellectual disability or low IQ, poor reasoning and judgment and a host of other issues.
Cruz’s adoptive mother, Lynda Cruz, 68, died of pneumonia in November last year. She was one of the only people that was remotely close to Cruz. His adoptive father Roger Cruz died of a heart attack several years ago.
After his mother died, he and his brother were left in the care of family friend Barbara Kumbatovich, of Long Island, New York.
He is believed to have lived for a few weeks at the Lantana Cascade mobile-home neighborhood with a different family friend before moving in with a former classmate’s family in Parkland around Thanksgiving.
16. Disturbing posts on Snapchat
Cruz was investigated by state authorities in 2016 after he filmed himself cutting his own arms on Snapchat and saying he wanted to buy a gun.
He posted the video on the social media app in September 2016, 17 months before he allegedly committed the school shooting.
He posted the Snapchat clip just days after turning 18 year of age and shortly after he broke up with his girlfriend ‘who was cheating on him,’ his mother told investigators.