Authorities were warned about school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz at least eight times in the two years before he allegedly killed 17 people during a shooting rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Valentine's Day, according to the Miami Herald.
Cruz, 19, lived with his adoptive mother Lynda Cruz over that stretch before she died Nov. 1 of pneumonia, according to the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel. He and his younger brother Zachary, 18, then lived with a neighbor before moving in with James and Kimberly Snead, the parents of one of his former classmates, the Sun Sentinel said.
The Miami Herald reported that Cruz was accused of dangerous and disturbing behavior eight times before the deadly high school shooting. Here are the times authorities were contacted, as compiled by the Miami Herald:
1. Feb. 5, 2016 — An anonymous caller told a Broward County Sheriff's Office deputy that Cruz, then 17, had allegedly threatened on Instagram to shoot up his school and posted a photo of himself with guns. The office reportedly passed the information to deputy Scot Peterson, the high school's resource officer.
2. Sept. 23, 2016 — A "peer counselor" reported to Peterson that Cruz had possibly attempted suicide by swallowing gasoline, was cutting himself, and wanted to buy a gun. A mental health counselor was against involuntarily committing Cruz. The high school stated that it will conduct a threat assessment.
3. Sept. 28, 2016 — An investigator for the Florida Department of Children and Families ruled Cruz was stable, despite "fresh cuts" on his arms. Lynda Cruz said in the past he wrote a racial slur against African-Americans on his book bag and recently talked of buying firearms.
4. Sept. 24, 2017 — A YouTube user named "nikolas cruz" posted a comment stating he wants to become a "professional school shooter." The comment was reported to the FBI in Mississippi, but no connection was made to Cruz in South Florida.
5. Nov. 1, 2017 — Katherine Blaine, Lynda Cruz's cousin, called Broward deputies to report that Nikolas Cruz had weapons and asks that police take them away. A "close family friend" agreed to collect the weapons, the sheriff's office reported.
6. Nov. 29, 2017 — The Palm Beach County family that took in Cruz after the death of his mother called the Palm Beach Sheriff's Office to report a fight between him and their son, 22. A family member told authorities that Cruz allegedly threatened to "get his gun and come back" and that he had "put the gun to others' heads in the past." The family declined to have Cruz arrested once he calmed down.
7. Nov. 30, 2017 — A Massachusetts caller informed the Broward County Sheriff's Office that Cruz was collecting guns and knives, charging that he could be a "school shooter in the making." A deputy advised the caller to contact the Palm Beach Sheriff Office.
8. Jan. 5, 2018 — A caller contacted the FBI's tip line to report that Cruz allegedly had "a desire to kill people" and could become a school shooter in the future. The information, though, is not passed to the FBI's office in Miami.
Cruz's defense attorney Melissa McNeill has said that she will seek a plea deal where Cruz would agree to plead guilty to 17 counts of first-degree murder if prosecutors do not pursue the death penalty, NBC News reported.
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