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Death Penalty Trial: Sentencing Phase Underway for Nikolas Cruz in 2018 FL Multiple Murders
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Thread: Death Penalty Trial: Sentencing Phase Underway for Nikolas Cruz in 2018 FL Multiple Murders

  1. #1
    Administrator Helen's Avatar
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    Death Penalty Trial: Sentencing Phase Underway for Nikolas Cruz in 2018 FL Multiple Murders











    At least 2 killed in Broward County School shooting; shooter in custody


    PARKLAND - The Broward County Sheriff's Office says a suspected shooter is in custody after gunfire sent students scrambling to school exits, caused terrified parents to try and contact their children and reports of multiple casualties.

    Gunfire erupted near the end of the school day Wednesday afternoon at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

    The suspected shooter was taken into custody, then put into an ambulance and taken to a hospital. Sheriff Scott Israel said the shooter was believed to be a former student at the school. He was taken into custody without incident, Israel said. The Associated Press said the suspect was 18.

    The Sheriff's Office said at least 14 people were taken to hospitals. Citing sources, CNN says there are two fatalities.

    Israel said shots were fired both inside and outside the school.

    He added that efforts were being made to reunite parents with their students.

    "It's catastrophic. There really are no words," Israel said

    At 4:11 p.m., the Broward County Sheriff's Office posted on Twitter that the shooter was in custody. Its first tweet about the shooting was at 2:53 p.m.

    Television video showed students running from campus with their hands behind their heads. A police officer waved the students on, urging them to quickly evacuate. The students made their way out past helmeted police in camouflage with weapons drawn.

    Ambulances converged on the scene as emergency workers appeared to be treating wounded people on the sidewalks.

    Len Murray's 17-year-old son, a junior at the school, sent his parents a chilling text around 2:30pm: "Mom and Dad, there have been shots fired on campus at school. There are police sirens outside. Im in the auditorium and the doors are locked."

    A few minutes later, he texted again: "I'm fine."

    The school is on Pine Island Road. Authorities are telling residents there to avoid the area of Stoneman Douglas High School.

    Gov. Rick Scott has been briefed on the shooting, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation has responded.

    Broward County Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie called what happened a horrific siutation.

    "It is a horrible day for us," Runcie said.

    The high school is a sprawling complex set on a tract in the South Florida community of Parkland, about 45 miles (70 kilometers) north of downtown Miami. The school cancelled after-school activities Wednesday night.

    It's only February, and there have already been at least four shootings at middle and high schools in the United States so far this year. That's according to CNN.

    Parkland was actually voted Florida's safest city last year. That's according to an analysis by the Washington-based National Council for Home Safety and Security.

    The group said the south Florida city, with a population of 31,507, had only seven reported violent crimes and 186 property crimes the previous year.

    http://www.mynews13.com/content/news...ting_repo.html
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

  2. #2
    Administrator Helen's Avatar
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    CNN is reporting 16 people dead.

    Nikolas Cruz arrested in Parkland, Florida high school shooting


    By Victor Morton
    The Washington Post

    The teenager arrested in the fatal school shooting in Florida has been identified as a former Army JROTC member wielding an assault rifle.

    According to the Herald, citing a “law-enforcement source,” Mr. Cruz is a former student who had been identified as a potential threat to the school.

    “We were told last year that he wasn’t allowed on campus with a backpack on him,” said math teacher Jim Gard, who told the Herald that Mr. Cruz had been in his class last year.

    “There were problems with him last year threatening students, and I guess he was asked to leave campus,” the teacher told the Herald.

    According to the U.K. Daily Mail, who also named Mr. Cruz, “police describe him as a student and a former member of the U.S. Army Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program.” The Associated Press later identified Mr. Cruz as the suspect also.

    https://www.washingtontimes.com/news...a-high-school/
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

  3. #3
    Administrator Helen's Avatar
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    The Broward County sheriff confirmed 17 people dead. The suspect was armed with a AR-15 rifle and had multiple magazines. Previously he attended this school but was expelled for behavior problems.


    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

  4. #4
    Administrator Aaron's Avatar
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    Shouldn't be hard to get a unanimous jury for this guy.
    Don't ask questions, just consume product and then get excited for next products.

  5. #5
    Administrator Helen's Avatar
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    Florida School Shooting Suspect Charged With 17 Counts of Premeditated Murder

    By Terry Spencer and Kelli Kennedy
    Time

    PARKLAND, Fla. — An orphaned 19-year-old with a troubled past and an AR-15 rifle was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder Thursday morning after being questioned for hours by state and federal authorities following the deadliest school shooting in the U.S. in five years.

    Fourteen wounded survivors were hospitalized as bodies were recovered from inside and around Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

    Nikolas Cruz, still wearing a hospital gown after being treated for labored breathing, and weighing in at 5-foot-7 and 131 pounds, was ordered held without bond and booked into jail.

    His former classmates thought they were having another drill Wednesday afternoon when a fire alarm sounded, requiring them to file out of their classrooms.

    That’s when police say Cruz, equipped with a gas mask, smoke grenades and multiple magazines of ammunition, opened fire with a semi-automatic weapon, killing 17 people and sending hundreds of students fleeing into the streets. It was the nation’s deadliest school shooting since a gunman attacked an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, more than five years ago.

    “Our district is in a tremendous state of grief and sorrow,” said Robert Runcie, superintendent of the school district in Parkland, about an hour’s drive north of Miami. “It is a horrible day for us.”

    Authorities offered no immediate details about Cruz or his possible motive, except to say that he had been kicked out of the high school, which has about 3,000 students. Students who knew him described a volatile teenager whose strange behavior had caused others to end friendships with him.

    Cruz’s mother Lynda Cruz died of pneumonia on Nov. 1 neighbors, friends and family members said, according to the Sun Sentinel . Cruz and her husband, who died of a heart attack several years ago, adopted Nikolas and his biological brother, Zachary, after the couple moved from Long Island in New York to Broward County.

    The boys were left in the care of a family friend after their mother died, family member Barbara Kumbatovich, of Long Island, said.

    Unhappy there, Nikolas Cruz asked to move in with a friend’s family in northwest Broward. The family agreed and Cruz moved in around Thanksgiving. According to the family’s lawyer, who did not identify them, they knew that
    Cruz owned the AR-15 but made him keep it locked up in a cabinet. He did have the key, however.

    Jim Lewis said the family is devastated and didn’t see this coming. They are cooperating with authorities, he said.

    Victoria Olvera, a 17-year-old junior at the school, said Cruz was expelled last school year because he got into a fight with his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend. She said he had been abusive to his girlfriend.

    “I think everyone had in their minds if anybody was going to do it, it was going to be him,” she said.

    Cruz was taken into custody without a fight about an hour after the shooting in a residential neighborhood about a mile away. He had multiple magazines of ammunition, authorities said.

    “It’s catastrophic. There really are no words,” said Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel.

    Frantic parents rushed to the school to find SWAT team members and ambulances surrounding the huge campus and emergency workers who appeared to be treating the wounded on sidewalks. Students who hadn’t run began leaving in a single-file line with their hands over their heads as officers urged them to evacuate quickly.

    Hearing loud bangs as the shooter fired, many of the students inside hid under desks or in closets, and barricaded doors.

    “We were in the corner, away from the windows,” said freshman Max Charles, who said he heard five gunshots. “The teacher locked the door and turned off the light. I thought maybe I could die or something.”

    As he was leaving the building, he saw four dead students and one dead teacher. He said he was relieved when he finally found his mother.

    “I was happy that I was alive,” Max said. “She was crying when she saw me.”

    Noah Parness, a 17-year-old junior, said he and the other students calmly went outside to their fire-drill areas when he suddenly heard popping sounds.

    “We saw a bunch of teachers running down the stairway, and then everybody shifted and broke into a sprint,” Parness said. “I hopped a fence.”

    Most of the fatalities were inside the building, though some victims were found fatally shot outside, the sheriff said.

    Sen. Bill Nelson told CNN that Cruz had pulled the fire alarm “so the kids would come pouring out of the classrooms into the hall.”

    “And there the carnage began,” said Nelson, who said he was briefed by the FBI.

    The scene was reminiscent of the Newtown attack, which shocked even a country numbed by the regularity of school shootings. The Dec. 14, 2012, assault at Sandy Hook Elementary School killed 26 people: 20 first-graders and six staff members. The 20-year-old gunman, who also fatally shot his mother in her bed, then killed himself.

    Not long after Wednesday’s attack in Florida, Michael Nembhard was sitting in his garage on a cul-de-sac when he saw a young man in a burgundy shirt walking down the street. In an instant, a police cruiser pulled up, and officers jumped out with guns drawn.

    “All I heard was ‘Get on the ground! Get on the ground!'” Nembhard said. He said Cruz did as he was told.

    The school was to be closed for the rest of the week.

    http://time.com/5159944/nikolas-cruz...hool-shooting/
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

  6. #6
    Senior Member CnCP Legend CharlesMartel's Avatar
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    Nikolas Cruz: A portrait of suspected Florida high school gunman who shot and killed 17 people

    By Kathleen Joyce
    Fox News

    Nikolas Cruz, who is accused of murdering 17 people in Wednesdays Florida high school shooting, lived with two different families since his mother's death in November, had been expelled from the school he allegedly attacked and reportedly killed chickens and frogs -- sometimes posting the gruesome pictures of the dead animals on social media.

    Cruz, who was adopted at birth along with his biological brother, appeared to have a tough time after his mother died a few months ago due to pneumonia, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported. Cruz's father died when he was younger.

    The 19-year-old man, who was described as weird and a loner, was expelled from the same school he allegedly opened fire on Wednesday. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Cruz was expelled for disciplinary problems.

    "I think everyone had in their minds if anybody was going to do it, it was going to be him," said Victoria Olvera, a 17-year-old junior at the school.

    Olvera said Cruz was expelled last school year because he got into a fight with his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend. She said he had been abusive to his girlfriend.

    "I think everyone had in their minds if anybody was going to do it, it was going to be him."
    - Victoria Olvera
    Police said Cruz used an AR-15 and had multiple magazines on him during the shooting. Cruzs attorney Jim Lewis said the firearm was legally purchased.

    Cruz and his brother were left in the care of a family friend after their mother died in November, but he was reportedly unhappy at the new location and asked to move in with a friends family in northwest Broward.

    The teen moved in with that family after his mothers Nov. 1 death and was allowed to keep the AR-15 as long as it was locked in a safe, Lewis said.

    It was his gun, Lewis said. The family made him keep it in a locked gun cabinet in the house, but he had a key.

    The family said they never witnessed Lewis shooting the gun, but did see him with pellet guns.

    Barbara Kumbatovich, the sister of Cruzs mother, Lynda, said she heard the news at her home in Long Island, N.Y., and could not believe she knew the suspect. She told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel she only met Cruz once at a funeral when he was young.

    I know she had been having some issues with them, especially the older one. He was being a problem. I know he did have some issues and he may have been taking medication. [He] did have some kind of emotional or difficulties, Kumbatovich said. [Lynda] kept a really close handle on both boys. They were not major issues, as far as I know, just things teenagers do, like not coming home on time, maybe being disrespectful.

    After he moved in with the family friend in Palm Beach County, he was urged to get a job and attend adult education classes.

    Janine Kartiganer, a former neighbor of Cruz, said the teen looked very troubled.

    He wore a hoodie and always had his head down, she said. He looked depressed.

    Emily Sucher, a junior at the high school, said she remembered Cruz as an off kid who would smile weirdly, make weird comments.

    Another student, Trevor Hart, said Cruz seemed like he really didnt like school. He also said the teen, who was enrolled in the Army ROTC at the school had a bunch of weapons and often spoke about killing small animals.

    Mike Watford, who graduated from the high school in 2016, told BuzzFeed News that "something definitely pushed [the suspect]" before Wednesday's shooting.

    Cruz often said "how tired he was of everyone picking on him and the staff doing nothing about it," Watford said.

    A math teacher, Jim Gard, said Cruz was infatuated with a female student at the school to the point of stalking her. Gard also said he believed the school had sent out an email warning teachers that Cruz shouldnt be allowed on campus with a backpack.

    Officials did not immediately say why Cruz was expelled from the high school.

    Shelby Speno, a former neighbor, said Cruz would shoot at their neighbors chickens and threw eggs at her husbands car. She said Cruzs mother had her hands full.

    I told my husband I was so glad they moved. Im afraid he was the kind of kid who would do something crazy, Shelby said. The older he gets, the worse kind of trouble he got into.

    Other neighbors said police were called to Cruzs house multiple times and the teen attempted to steal a bike from a neighbors garage.

    Authorities are looking into the suspects disturbing social media posts, which appeared to include Cruz posing with guns.

    And some of the things that have come to mind are very, very disturbing, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said of the social media posts.

    Israel said authorities have not determined a motive for the shooting.

    Buzzfeed News reported a YouTube vlogger flagged a comment on one of his videos from a person named Nikolas Cruz that said: Im going to be a professional school shooter. The vlogger, Ben Bennight, said he alerted the FBI to the comment last fall.

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/02/15...17-people.html
    In the Shadow of Your Wings
    1 A Prayer of David. Hear a just cause, O Lord; attend to my cry! Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit!

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    Pam Bondi: Parkland massacre will be a death penalty case

    By A.G. Gancarski
    Florida Politics (blog)

    Though much of the talk from elected officials and politicians in the wake of Wednesdays mass shooting in Parkland has been of increased mental health screening and school hardening, there will be a legal case against Nikolas Cruz who killed 17 people at his old high school.

    Cruz made his first court appearance Thursday, and was held without bond. Prosecutors spoke of the premeditated nature of the crimes, and Cruz fleeing the scene.

    Meanwhile, Attorney General Pam Bondi asserted on Fox News Monday that she fully expects prosecutors will seek the death penalty in Cruz case.

    Im certain they will be seeking the death penalty, Bondi said.

    Im certain that there will be no bond given the 17 deaths. The state will have 45 days to determine whether they seek the death penalty, Bondi said, citing aggravators and mitigators.

    Premeditation and calculation are among those aggravators, Bondi said.

    With 17 dead children, walking into a school with these firearms, they will be seeking the death penalty, Bondi said, describing Cruz as a monster in this world.

    http://floridapolitics.com/archives/...h-penalty-case
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

  8. #8
    Administrator Helen's Avatar
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    SCHOOL SHOOTING: Nation grieves after another horrific, deadly spree

    By Greg Pallone
    mynews13.com

    A day after the tragic South Florida school shooting, vigils were being held to honor victims and loved ones, while stories of students and staff emerged.

    A large crowd was expected for a vigil at the Parkland Amphitheater on Thursday evening to honor the 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

    Earlier in the day, not far away, another vigil brought hundreds together to pray and reflect, including students who hadn't seen one another since the shooting that changed their community forever.

    Tears were shed, heads hung in sorrow and hands were gripped tightly in support. Prayers and songs were said, including for Nikolas Cruz, the lone gunman accused of the horrific spree.

    "It's just a good reminder that I still have these guys with me, and I'm very thankful for them," Douglas High sophomore Patrick Bolger said.

    Less than a day after a gunman shot up their school, best friends Bolger and Dylan O'Neill were stuck together like glue, arms around one another.

    Bolger said he thought long and hard about coming to the Church United vigil.

    "I'm really glad I did, because I saw all my friends, and him (O'Neill), who I haven't seen since then," Bolger said.

    O'Neill recalled a teacher yelling "code red" repeatedly as gunfire erupted near the end of the school day.

    Both were separated as the gunman ravaged through the school. Bolger, along with hundreds of fellow students urged to go to the auditorium.

    "I grabbed a couple of my friends and I put them in the teachers' lounge," O'Neill said.

    Bolger said his father is a member of a local SWAT team who responded to the school and found him.

    "Just seeing him there was a huge sigh of relief," Bolger said. "I knew I was safe."

    Just a day after their school and lives were changed forever, they say the healing has already begun.

    "I think it's great how we can regroup as a community so fast, not even 24 hours after the incident," O'Neill said. "We are already all together as one community."

    Methodical entry, attempted escape

    According to a timeline provided by Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, Cruz was dropped off at the school by an Uber driver at 2:19 p.m. Carrying his weapon in a soft black case, he entered the school grounds and then
    Building 12 through the structure's east stairwell.

    From the building's first floor, Cruz drew the weapon from the case and at 2:21 p.m. began firing into several classrooms. He used the stairwell to move through the building's second and third floors, firing into more classrooms.

    Then on the third floor, he abandoned his backpack and the weapon, exited the building, ran across several athletic fields and joined other students running from the campus, attempting to blend in with them as they left the campus.

    From there, detectives said Cruz went into a nearby Walmart, purchased a drink from a Subway restaurant inside the Walmart, then walked to a nearby McDonald's.

    It was shortly after he left the McDonald's at about 3:45 p.m. that Cruz was found by Coconut Creek Police and taken into custody.

    The takedown

    Coconut Creek Police Officer Michael Leonard explained how he captured Cruz.

    While looking along various backroads close to the school, Leonard saw a person wearing the same clothes as the shooter, he recalled.

    "He was taken into custody without any issues," said Leonard, who would not say whether any weapons were found on Cruz.

    Cruz's captured by law enforcement was recorded on video.

    Hospitals receive, discharge patients

    Dr. Evan Boyer, medical director of Broward Health North, said the hospital saw a total of nine patients, including Cruz. Two patients died, three were discharged and three were still in the hospital at the time.

    Broward Health Medical Center saw seven patients. Two were in critical condition Thursday morning and five had been discharged.

    2017 tip about YouTube video

    During a separate news conference Thursday morning, the FBI's Robert F. Lasky, a special agent in charge of the Miami division, said that in 2017, the FBI field office in Jackson, MI received information about a comment on a YouTube channel.

    The comment said, "I'm going to be a professional school shooter."

    Lasky said agents interviewed the owner of the YouTube channel and attempted to identify the user who made the comment. Despite their efforts, they found nothing to link the user who posted the comment to the state of Florida.

    Gov. Rick Scott also said that "our hearts and prayers are with these families" and mentioned that he visited families at hospitals. He stressed that students never have to worry about gun violence.

    "The violence has to stop. We cannot lose another child in this country to violence in the school," Scott said.

    Broward Sheriff Israel said the Baker Act, which allows for involuntary examination of anyone considered to be a harm to themselves or others, is limited.

    He called on lawmakers to let law enforcement be allowed to take a person who makes a comment or posts something graphic on social media deemed dangerous, so officials can take them to a mental health professional.

    Broward Superintendent Robert Runcie said that "real funding" for mental health for youth is needed and urged more funds for counselors and other services for schools.

    White nationalist group claims Cruz

    A leader of a white nationalist militia said Cruz was a member of his group and participated in paramilitary drills in Tallahassee.

    Jordan Jereb told The Associated Press that his group, the Republic of Florida, wants Florida to become its own white ethno-state. He said his group holds "spontaneous random demonstrations" and tries not to participate in the modern world.

    Jereb said he did not know Cruz personally and that "he acted on his own behalf of what he just did and he's solely responsible for what he just did."

    He also said he had "trouble with a girl" and he believed the timing of the attack, carried out on Valentine’s Day, was not a coincidence.

    Trump admin to 'tackle' mental health

    Addressing "a nation in grief," President Donald Trump said children and teachers became victims of "hatred and evil."

    "No child, no teacher, should ever be in danger at an American school," Trump said.

    He called the city of Parkland a "great and safe" community and explained how the shooter killed 17 people and wounded at least 14 others.

    The president said his administration will work closely with law enforcement as the investigation continues.

    He also said his administration will be "tackling" mental health.

    "We are committed to working with state and local leaders to help secure our schools and tackle the difficult issue of mental health. Later this month, I will be meeting with the nation’s governors and attorney generals, where making our schools and our children safer will be our top priority. It is not enough to simply take actions to make us feel like we are making a difference. We must actually make that difference," Trump said.

    http://www.mynews13.com/content/news..._about_gu.html
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

  9. #9
    Moderator Mike's Avatar
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    I will be amazed if this guy makes it to trial. School shooters rarely live to trial.

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    Administrator Helen's Avatar
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    Fla. shooting suspect had a history of explosive anger, depression, killing animals

    By Kevin Sullivan, William Wan and Julie Tate
    Washington Post

    PARKLAND, Fla. The killing began with the squirrels. As a fourth-grader, Nikolas Cruz would try to bloody them with his pellet gun. Then he started going after chickens.

    By the time Cruz was a teenager, he was sneaking into his neighbors yard across the street and trying to get his dogs to attack their baby potbelly pigs.

    One resident watched him take long sticks to rabbit holes, ramming them down as hard as possible to kill any creatures trapped inside.

    Some in the affluent neighborhood where Cruz grew up said they called authorities on him frequently. Every few weeks, it seemed, police cruisers were pulling up to the teenagers house to sort out the latest complaint.

    In recent years, the behavior got worse. Cruz became more isolated, sitting on his own at the school bus stop, sneering at neighbors, withdrawing even from his younger brother, friends and classmates said.

    Some who knew Cruz cut ties in part because of his unnerving and scary Instagram posts and photographs, including one showing a guns laser sight pointed at a neighborhood street. Another appeared to show a dead frogs bloodied body.

    Others saw a teenager trying to work through a dark period of his life and tried to help. In short order, Cruz was expelled from school, lost his mother to pneumonia and slunk into a depression.

    A friend from his former high school took him in. His parents gave Cruz their guest bedroom, got him a job and drove him to an alternative school every day to work on his GED.

    But no one not those who feared him nor those who sympathized glimpsed the full malevolence brewing inside Cruzs heart until Valentines Day, when police say he walked into a suburban South Florida high school and carried out one of the nations deadliest school shootings.

    'People were afraid of him'


    Cruz was adopted at age 2 along with his 2-month-old brother, Zachary, by Lynda and Roger Cruz, friends and relatives said. Relatives said Nikolas and Zachary shared a biological mother but have different fathers.

    Their adoptive father died of a heart attack when they were young, leaving Lynda to raise the two boys on her own.

    Lynda was very close to them, said her sister-in-law, Barbara Kumbatovic. She put a lot of time and effort into those boys, trying to give them a good life and upbringing.

    Zachary often seemed quiet and content to follow Nikolass lead. But Nikolas was moody, prone to an explosive temper and at times seemed to delight in antagonizing others.

    People were afraid of him, said Brody Speno, 19, who grew up on the same block.

    Just about everybody on this part of the street had a run-in with him, said longtime neighbor Malcolm Roxburgh, who lived just three houses down.

    His hostility stuck out in this calm, well-to-do neighborhood of manicured lawns and sprawling tony homes.

    Cruz picked fights with other kids. He stole peoples mail. He threw rocks and coconuts and vandalized property, neighbors said. He lurked at late hours along drainage ditches running along the back yards of their houses. One woman said she caught him peeking into her bedroom window. Another caught him stealing their bike.

    Lynda dealt with it like most parents did. She was probably too good to him, said Kumbatovic. She made a beautiful home for them. She put a lot of effort and time into their schooling, their recreation, whatever they needed. . . . She went over and above, because she needed to compensate for being a single parent.

    A classmate through elementary and middle school, Brody Speno waited every day with Cruz to catch the bus to school. Then one afternoon about five years ago, when they both were teenagers, Cruz started throwing eggs at Spenos car with no warning, Speno recalled. He and a friend chased Cruz back to his house.

    We were pissed off, so we knocked on the door and his mom came out, Speno said. When the two told her what happened, Cruzs mom had a strange reaction.

    She said, No, my son would never do that. Hes inside sleeping,  Speno recalled.

    There were visible indications of troubles in their home. Three neighbors recalled seeing furniture on the curb to be hauled away every few months. The hutches and tables often looked like they had been kicked in or smashed up by someone.

    For years, Roxburghs daughter Rhonda drove past Cruz in the morning as he waited for the school bus. One morning about four years ago, Rhonda Roxburgh said, Cruz suddenly attacked her car, slamming it hard with his backpack.

    When she got out to confront him, Cruz simply laughed and sneered, so Roxburgh called the police. For the next few mornings, Rhonda Roxburgh said, police stationed an officer at the intersection to make sure Cruz didnt attack or throw rocks at cars.

    Fed up with the terrorizing, Roxburgh said she confronted Cruzs mother, but again, she refused to believe her son had done it.

    While Roxburgh was talking to Lynda Cruz, however, she saw the boy sneaking out of the house. So she went to confront him, too.

    Roxburgh said she told the teenager, Look at me when Im talking to you.

    When Cruz did, the look he gave chilled Roxburgh to the core.

    It was just so cold. Like empty, cavernous eyes, she said. No feeling at all.

    Expelled from high school

    At school, classmates had similar reactions.

    The signs were minor at first, said Dakota Mutchler, 17, who attended middle school with Cruz. But as Cruz transitioned into high school, he started progressively getting a little more weird.

    Cruz started selling knives out of a lunchbox, Mutchler said, posting on Instagram about guns and killing animals, and eventually going after one of my friends, threatening her.

    In a school where cliques were common, Cruz never seemed to find his crowd.

    Mutchler recalled Cruz getting suspended from school repeatedly, before he was expelled last school year.

    A classmate, Victoria Olvera, 17, told the Associated Press that Cruz was expelled after a fight with his ex-girlfriends new boyfriend.

    In a phone interview, another classmate, Jevon Cange, 21, said he saw Cruz headed to the administrators office one day in 2016. Cruz told him he had been in a fight. By the next time Cange saw him in late 2016, Cruz said he had been expelled.

    When someone is expelled, you dont really expect them to come back, Mutchler said. But, of course, he came back.

    Math teacher Jim Gard, who taught Cruz last school year before he was expelled, said that the school administration sent out an email to teachers with a vague suggestion of concern, asking teachers to keep an eye on him.

    I dont recall the exact message, Gard said, but it was an email notice they sent out.

    Broward County Mayor Beam Furr told CNN that Cruz had been receiving treatment at a mental-health clinic for a while, but that he had not been to the clinic for more than a year.

    Lost his mother

    The hardest blow came in November, when Cruzs mother died of pneumonia at 68, relatives said. With her death, Cruz lost one of the only people close to him, said friends and family.

    For a while, Cruz and his brother stayed with friends in Latana, in Palm Beach County, Fla. The situation deteriorated, and Cruz asked a former classmate from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School whether he could move in with his family, said Jim Lewis, a lawyer representing the family.

    The family brought him into their home, Lewis said. They got him a job at a local dollar store. They didnt see anything that would suggest any violence. He was depressed, maybe a little quirky. But they never saw anything violent.

    The family knew Cruz had been in some fights and had the impression Cruz had been bullied, Lewis said.

    This family was just trying to do the right thing by this kid, because they felt sorry for him, Lewis said. Now theyve found themselves in this horrible position where they are second-guessing everything.

    To the family, Cruz mostly seemed depressed.

    Whos not going to be depressed? Lewis said. Youre 19 years old. Your fathers been dead 12 years. The mothers the one who raised you and all that youve basically got in the world in terms of grounding you. And all of sudden she dies of pneumonia.

    Moving in to his friends house, Cruz brought with him the AR-15 gun police say he would later use to gun down his classmates and teachers. The family let him keep it in a locked steel safe in his room. They never saw him shoot it, Lewis said.

    He was respectful, followed the rules and seemed grateful to have a home. Up until the shooting, there was no sign of trouble.

    Just the day before, he had ridden with his friends father to the alternative school where he was working on his GED, then went to his job at the dollar store.

    Then on Wednesday, Cruz said he wasnt going to school.

    Its Valentines Day. I dont go to school on Valentines Day, he told them, according to Lewis.

    That morning, the familys son, however, went as usual to Douglas High, where he is a junior. When the shooting began, the son was in class and remained locked in the room until police let him and others out.

    He was in class and ran out with his hands up like everybody else, Lewis said. He had no idea that Cruz was allegedly the one killing classmates until the investigators asked him to come with them to the police department.

    That, Lewis said, was the first indication they had of the depth of violence inside Nikolas Cruz.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/natio...=.4f6a8bdce529
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

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