Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz was expelled last year for ‘fighting over his ex-girlfriend’ and made shocking Instagram posts detailing a twisted obsession for guns, violence and hurting animals, it has emerged.
Nikolas Cruz shot 17 people dead and injured 50 more when he went on the rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Wednesday armed with an AR-15 assault rifle.
Former classmates of the 19-year-old, said they had feared he was capable of a school shooting as they revealed he was ‘crazy about guns’. One student said Cruz was expelled after a fight with his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend. The gunman had also been abusive to his girlfriend, the student said.
Cruz’s Instagram is filled with disturbing posts of what appears to be himself with his face covered showing off a terrifying arsenal of weapons. A student who says he 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’.
Family lawyer Jim Lewis said: ‘It was his gun. The family made him keep it in a locked gun cabinet in the house but he had a key.’
Cruz is is believed to have set off the fire alarms to draw people out into the halls shortly after 2pm before he opened fire – and then managed to evade police by pretending to be one of the terrified students running for cover.
The shooter was armed with at least one AR-15 rifle, had ‘multiple magazines’ and smoke grenades when he stormed the school wearing a gas mask and killed 17 students and staff. He was taken into custody off the school campus about an hour after the shooting broke out.
As shocking details of the shooting emerged today, several peers at Cruz’s former school have shared accounts of the ‘troubled teen.’
Chad Williams, 18, a senior at Stoneman Douglas High school, remembered Cruz as a troubled classmate from middle school. He said Cruz would set off the fire alarm, day after day, and finally got expelled in the eighth grade.
More recently, Williams saw Cruz carrying several publications about guns when they ran into each other at the high school. Williams thought Cruz was there to pick up a younger sibling.
‘He was crazy about guns,’ Williams told Reuters by the side of the road near the high school. ‘He was kind of an outcast. He didn’t have many friends. He would do anything crazy for a laugh, but he was trouble.’
Traumatized students said that once they heard reports of a mass shooting at the school they knew it would be Cruz, while one teacher said he had been identified as a potential threat to his classmates last year.
‘A lot of people were saying it was going to be him,’ he said. ‘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. That’s crazy.’
‘He was going class to class just shooting at random kids. Everything he posts (on social media) is about weapons. It’s sick.’
Victoria Olvera, a 17-year-old junior, said Cruz was expelled last school year after a fight with his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend. She said Cruz had been abusive to his girlfriend.
Math teacher Jim Gard, who taught Cruz last year, said that Cruz may have been identified as a potential threat to other students. Gard said he believes the school had sent out an email warning teachers that Cruz shouldn’t be allowed on campus with a backpack.