- Authorities reportedly visited the Florida shooting suspect’s home 39 times over seven years.
- His mother frequently called 911 to report that he or his brother were threatening her or throwing things.
- One of his neighbours filmed him firing his pellet gun for target practice in his backyard.
Documents from the Broward County Sheriff’s Office paint a troubling picture about the Florida shooting suspect’s past and previous run-ins with law enforcement.
Authorities visited Cruz’s home at least 39 times over a seven-year period, CNN reported Friday, though it wasn’t immediately clear whether Cruz was involved in each incident.
Nikolas Cruz, 19, allegedly killed 17 people when he opened fire on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which he used to attend. In the following days, his former classmates, teachers, and neighbours told media there were overwhelming warning signs that Cruz’s behaviour could take a violent turn.
His adoptive mother, Lynda Cruz, also knew her son could be violent, according to sheriff’s reports obtained by BuzzFeed News. She repeatedly called 911 to report his behaviour, often complaining that Nikolas or his brother Zachary “threw items” or were “out of control.”
“He has been cutting his arms, his mother said, to get attention, as he learned it from an ex-girlfriend,” one deputy’s report said. “He has mentioned in the past that he would like to purchase a firearm.”
Conflicting reports on mental illness
In one 2012 occasion, Lynda Cruz called 911 to report that her sons were “threatening her.” Nikolas and Zachary Cruz were 12 and 13 years old at the time.
The police returned to the Cruz home later that year after Nikolas attacked his mother with the plastic hose from a vacuum cleaner, according to another report.
One deputy noted in another report that Cruz appeared to suffer from mental illness, though a therapist on the scene “deemed Nikolas to be no threat to anyone or himself at this present time.”
But in another report, officers wrote that both Nikolas and his brother were medicated for mental health issues, including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Nikolas’s neighbours also reported a series of disturbing incidents, telling media outlets that he had egged cars, frightened local children, and shot his pellet gun at animals.
Children appeared to fear Nikolas and would stand far apart from him at the bus stop near their homes, a former neighbour, Rhonda Roxburgh, told The Miami Herald. He also used to sit on the curb alone because “no one wanted to be around him.”
“That child had an extremely cold stare,” Roxburgh added. “He was going to hurt somebody. I just didn’t know it would be this bad.”
One neighbour provided a video to CNN that showed Nikolas conducting what appeared to be target practice in his backyard.
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