UPDATE: New Background Details Emerge About Florida School Shooting Suspect Nikolas Cruz
New details have emerged about 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, the suspected gunman that killed 17 people after opening fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida Wednesday.
— Franklin White (@FranklinWSVN) February 15, 2018
ABC 7 reports:
A family member told ABC News that Cruz was the adopted son of Roger and Lynda Cruz. He has a younger brother, and both of his parents are now deceased. The family member said Lynda Cruz died last year.
Cruz reportedly worked at a nearby Dollar Tree store. Employees told ABC News they are “shocked” by his actions, and described him as loyal and responsible, saying he “would arrive to work a half hour early.”
The Dollar Tree manager said Cruz was transferred from the store near the school to a different Dollar Tree, but he did not remember the reason why. He described Cruz as a nice kid who was always in a good mood.
Law enforcement sources told ABC News Cruz was able to leave the school by blending in with other students who were trying to escape.
According to Fox News reporter Trace Gallagher, Cruz reportedly followed resistance groups on social media.
#Parkland shooting suspect Cruz followed all types of gun groups as well as resistance groups on social media including the Syrian resistance & Iraqi fighters. Cruz apparently was told last year he was not allowed to come back on campus because of threats against students. pic.twitter.com/vVEUlU72Sp
— Nick Short 🇺🇸 (@PoliticalShort) February 14, 2018
Gallagher: “We should also point out that we have scoured his social media footprint. We have mentioned this before, but he was clearly obsessed with guns because he was attached and followed all types of gun groups, as well as resistance groups — the Syrian resistance and Iraqi fighters. Remeber, we said earlier that he was actually involved in a chat room discussion, YouTube chat room discussion online about the building of bombs.”
It is not known at this time which social media platforms Cruz followed Syrian resistance and Iraqi fighters on.
According to a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student, the suspected gunman has “been a troubled kid.”
The student told WSVN the suspect showed off photos of his guns.
“He played around with a joke multiple times, you know, he knows the layout of the school. He can actually go ahead and pinpoint all where all the students would be,” the student told WSVN.
Student says alleged school shooter was a "troubled kid" pic.twitter.com/O0zZ6An2XM
— WSVN 7 News (@wsvn) February 14, 2018
The suspect is now in custody and cooperating with authorities.