What we know about suspected Florida shooter Nikolas Cruz

Nikolas Cruz.
(Image credit: MIGUEL GUTTIEREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

On Wednesday, a gunman entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and killed 17 people with a semiautomatic rifle. The suspected shooter is 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, who was a former student at the school.

During his time at Douglas, Cruz was reportedly suspended for having bullets in his backpack. Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel told reporters Wednesday that Cruz was expelled last year for "disciplinary reasons." Teachers at his former high school had reportedly been warned not to let Cruz on campus after his expulsion, and a former classmate told the Miami Herald that "from past experiences, he seemed like the kind of kid who would do something like this."

In recent months, Cruz had been living with the family of a friend from his old high school, after his adoptive mother Lynda passed away in November. His adoptive father, Roger, had died of a heart attack more than 10 years ago, CNN reported. A lawyer for the family that Cruz had been living with told The Washington Post that while Cruz seemed to struggle with depression, he did not exhibit any obvious violent tendencies.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Authorities, however, found two Instagram accounts believed to be Cruz's. Images on the accounts featured knives as well as an array of firearms, which the poster had described in a caption as his "arsenal." Former classmates of Cruz reportedly unfollowed him on Instagram because they were disturbed by the content he posted.

Additionally, a YouTube account posting under the name Nikolas Cruz commented on a video last September, saying, "I'm going to be a professional school shooter." This comment was reported to the FBI by another YouTube user, BuzzFeed News reported, but the investigation apparently fizzled out. Authorities said that Cruz obtained the semiautomatic AR-15 that he reportedly used to carry out the shooting legally, after passing a background check.

To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us