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In the years leading up to the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, accused gunman Nikolas Cruz accumulated a long list of disciplinary problems and mental health concerns. The teenager was suspended for a fight, transferred to a school for troubled students and reported to law enforcement numerous times. At least three times, people contacted law enforcement to warn that Cruz could carry out a school shooting. Here’s a look at the red flags in the life of Cruz.
Sept. 24th, 1998: Nikolas Cruz born
Nikolas and Zachary were adopted very early in their lives by Lynda and Roger Cruz. Relatives say the boys shared a biological mother but have different fathers.
Jan. 23, 2002: Cruz diagnosed as developmentally delayed
Aug. 28, 2012: Cruz receives a suspension for fighting at Westglades Middle School
During the 2013 school year, 26 disciplinary incidents are added to Cruz’s record at Westglades Middle School — averaging nearly three per month.
Jan. 15, 2013: Lynda Cruz tells Broward County sheriff her son has anger issues
A Broward County sheriff responded to the Cruz’s Parkland home after Lynda Cruz reports that she was thrown against the wall after taking away 14-year-old Nikolas’s Xbox. Mental health clinicians advised Nikolas did not need to be held under the Baker Act.
Feb. 6, 2014: Cruz transfers to Cross Creek School, for students with emotional or behavioral problems
Cruz leaves Westglades Middle School in the 8th grade and enrolls in a school that offers psychiatric and other clinical services on campus.
Jan. 13, 2016: Cruz transfers to Stoneman Douglas
Cruz is allowed to leave Cross Creek in the 10th grade and enrolls in the mainstream public high school, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Feb. 5, 2016: Anonymous report that Cruz stated on Instagram that he plans to shoot up the school
The Broward County sheriff receives a report from an unnamed neighbor whose son said Cruz posted a photo of himself with guns on Instagram, saying he planned to shoot up the school. The sheriff’s office forwarded the information to the Stoneman Douglas school resource officer.
Sept. 24, 2016: Cruz’s 18th birthday
Sept. 28, 2016: Sheriff receives two reports related to Cruz allegedly hurting himself
A school resource officer reports that a peer counselor told him that Cruz ingested gasoline in an effort to commit suicide and was cutting himself. He also allegedly said he wanted to buy a gun and possessed hate-related symbols. A mental health clinician said Cruz didn’t need to be held under the Baker Act. Eight hours later, a sheriff’s deputy responds to Cruz’s home on allegations that Cruz is hurting himself and talking about buying a gun.
Sept. 28, 2016: State welfare agency opens case on Cruz, citing “medical neglect”
Florida Department of Children and Families opens a case on Cruz, calling him “a vulnerable adult due to mental illness.” The report notes that Cruz said he plans to buy a gun, but “it is unknown what he is buying the gun for.”
Nov. 12, 2016: Florida Department of Children and Families closes its case on Cruz
In its report, the Florida Department of Children and Families says Cruz’s “final level of risk is low,” noting that his mental health clinician said Cruz takes medication regularly and keeps his appointments. The report states that Cruz suffers from depression, ADHD and autism. It also reports that he doesn’t have a gun.
Cruz is reported for an alleged assault and referred for a threat assessment, according to school discipline records.
Feb. 11, 2017: Cruz buys an AR-15 from a Coral Springs, Fla., gun store
Cruz purchases the AR-15 used in the shooting from Sunrise Tactical Supply. The transaction is later confirmed by the retailer’s lawyers. Federal authorities say the gun was purchased legally. Cruz purchased at least 10 weapons before the shooting, all rifles and shotguns, according to a law enforcement official.
September 2017: “nikolas cruz” says he plans to be a school shooter in a YouTube comment
Nov. 1, 2017: Lynda Cruz dies of pneumonia at age 68
After Lynda dies, family friend Rocxanne Deschamps takes in Nikolas and Zachary, who move into her home in Lake Worth, Fla., about 30 miles north of Parkland.
Nov. 1, 2017: Lynda’s cousin advises sheriff to take away Cruz’s weapons
A cousin of Lynda’s reportedly tells the Broward County Sheriff’s Office that Cruz has rifles and requests that they be taken away in light of Lynda’s death.
November 2017: Rock Deschamps reports Cruz has buried a 9mm gun in the backyard
Nov. 29, 2017: Family friend whom Cruz is staying with calls 911
Nov. 30, 2017: Broward County Sheriff’s Office receives tip that Cruz could become a school shooter
A caller from Massachusetts tells the sheriff’s office that Cruz is collecting guns and knives and could kill himself or become a school shooter. A deputy refers the call to the Palm Beach sheriff’s office after the caller notes Cruz has moved to Lake Worth , Fla. The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said it was never told of the threat.
Jan. 5, 2018: FBI receives a tip that Cruz might attack a school
The FBI receives a tip from “a person close to Nikolas Cruz” who is worried about Cruz “getting into a school and just shooting the place up.” The caller reported concerns about Cruz’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,” according to an FBI statement. The agency ignores the warning.
Feb. 14, 2018: Shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School kills 17 students and faculty
Police say Cruz took an Uber to the school, carrying a black duffle bag, and opened fire in the “freshman building” with an AR-15.
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17 killed in mass shooting at high school in Parkland, Florida — (NBC News)
John McCall / South Florida Sun-Sentinel
By Elizabeth Chuck, Alex Johnson and Corky Siemaszko
The teen gunman accused of opening fire with a semi-automatic rifle at his former high school in Parkland, Florida, has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder, officials said Thursday.
Authorities said the suspect, identified as 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, concealed himself in the crowd fleeing Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School following the massacre on Wednesday afternoon. He was arrested in nearby Coral Springs.
Related: These are the 17 victims of the Parkland school shooting
Fourteen others were wounded, five with life-threatening injuries, hospital officials said.
Cruz had recently been expelled from Douglas for disciplinary reasons and was enrolled elsewhere in the district, the schools superintendent in Broward County, Robert Runcie, said. Cruz took an Uber to the Douglas campus on Wednesday, Runcie told NBC News.
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