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10 New Details About Florida School Shooter Nikolas Cruz's Past, Mental Health Issues And Abuse Of His Ex-Girlfriend

Sarah Gangraw
Nikolas Cruz

A mass shooting left 17 dead rocked a Florida high school on Valentine’s Day.

Nikolas Cruz, 19, took an Uber to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and opened fire on students and teachers. It only took him 10 minutes to kill 17 people and injured another 14.

Though he managed to blend in with the crowd and flee campus, he was arrested within an hour and admitted to shooting the victims. Cruz is being held at Broward County Jail without bond and is charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.

So who is Nikolas Cruz and why did he commit one of the deadliest mass shootings in five years? Here is everything you need to know about the disturbed Parkland shooter.

1. He was adopted, but his adoptive parents died.

NBC News

Cruz’s adoptive father, Roger Cruz, died in 2004 and his adoptive mother, Lydia Cruz, passed away in November.

“His mother was his entire life and when he lost her, I believe that was it for the boy’s peace of mind,” Paul Gold, a former neighbor of Cruz, told The New York Times.

2. A friend’s family took him in.

ABC News

After his mother died, the family of someone Cruz met at school decided to take him in. The family wishes to remain anonymous.

"They had a room. He really had no other options and they brought him in," Jim Lewis, attorney for the host family, said.

The family not aware of Cruz’s mental health issues but did see some depression after his mother died.

"They didn't see that. They didn't see a mentally ill person, or they wouldn't have let him live under their (roof)," Lewis said.

"They are horrified just like everybody else," Lewis continued.

RELATED: New Details Emerge About The Victims Of The Florida School Shooting — Including The Heroic High School Coach Who Acted As A Human Shield To Save Students

3. He suffered from a mental illness.

Cruz’s host family did not know the extent of his mental illness. The family was aware that he was depressed but thought it was simply because he had lost his mother.

Lewis said Cruz showed “no anger, just a lot of depression and stuff going on around the loss of his mother."

According to CNN, Broward County Mayor Beam Furr said Cruz "had been dealing with mental health issues."

"He had been undergoing some treatment,” Furr said. “We can't go into detail on that…there's been a time where he was receiving treatment and then stopped."

4. Students saw him as “strange” and “disturbed.”

AP

"He was very, very strange," the student, who asked to remain anonymous, told CNN. "Like if there was someone to shoot up a school, it would be him."

Brody Speno, who knew Cruz since grade school said he was an “evil kid.”

"Something wasn't right about him," Speno recalled. "He was off."

5. The FBI was warned about him.

AP

Someone close to Cruz informed the FBI of the shooter’s “gun ownership, desire to kill people, erratic behavior, and disturbing social media posts, as well as the potential of him conducting a school shooting,” on January 5, according to CNN.

The FBI said that proper protocol was not taken once the information was received and that Cruz should have been seen as a “potential threat to life.”

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, said the FBI’s failure to assess Cruz was “inexcusable.”

"The fact that the FBI is investigating this failure is not enough,” Rubio said in a statement. “Both the House and Senate need to immediately initiate their own investigations into the FBI's protocols for ensuring tips from the public about potential killers are followed through."

RELATED: New Details Revealed About Kevin Neal, The California Elementary School Shooter Who Murdered His Wife Before His Rampage

6. The police were called to his house 39 times since 2010.

AP

Although police reports were not immediately available to determine how many of those calls were related to Cruz, neighbors spoke out about living next to the suspected shooter.

Speno told CNN that law enforcement was called to Cruz’s home "almost every other week." He even recalled an incident where Cruz "cornered a squirrel and was trying to throw rocks at it and kill it."

A neighbor, who wished not to be named, took a video of Cruz “acting weird” and shooting cans and buckets in his boxers in October 2017.

7. His digital footprint is disturbing.

ABC News

Cruz’s social media accounts hold a troubling truth — he was violent.

The 19-year-old often posted photos of guns and used captions containing racial slurs against Muslims and blacks, according to CNN.

He wrote threatening comments on YouTube videos, such as "I whana shoot people with my AR-15,” "I wanna die Fighting killing s**t ton of people,” and "I am going to kill law enforcement one day they go after the good people."

One of his most disturbing comments, though, was one he posted on a vlogger’s video: "Im going to be a professional school shooter."

8. He was expelled for fighting.

USA Today

Student Victoria Olvera, 17, told the Associated Press that Cruz had previously been abusive to his ex-girlfriend and was expelled for fighting her new boyfriend.

“There were problems with him last year threatening students,” teacher Jim Gard told the Miami Herald.

Gard also said an email had been sent out to warn teachers that Cruz should not be allowed on the school grounds with a backpack.

9. He owned his gun legally.

ABC News

Cruz had purchased his firearm legally last year and the family he lived with knew he owned it.

He was required by the family to keep it locked up in his room, CNN reported.

"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," Lewis said.

10. No ties were found between Cruz and the white-nationalist group known as the Republic of Florida Militia.

WLRN

Jordan Jereb, a white supremacist, claimed Cruz was affiliated with the Republic of Florida Militia but police found no evidence the Parkland shooter was linked to the group.

“We are still doing some work but we have no known ties between the ROF, Jordan Jereb or the Broward shooter,” Leon County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Grady Jordan told The Tallahassee Democrat.

RELATED: Awful New Details Revealed About Nikolas Cruz, The Florida School Shooter Who Murdered 17 People

Keywords: crime, shooting

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