Trump tweets that Florida school shooting suspect was 'mentally disturbed'

  • President Donald Trump on Thursday called Nikolas Cruz, the suspect in Wednesday’s Florida high-school shooting, “mentally disturbed.”
  • Trump urged people to report behaviour like Cruz’s before the shooting to authorities, but it’s unclear what actions authorities could have taken, as Cruz reportedly possessed his gun legally.
  • Trump has been unsupportive of gun-control legislation even after major tragedies involving guns in the US.

President Donald Trump has branded the suspect in Wednesday’s Florida school shooting “mentally disturbed.”

Nikolas Cruz has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder on suspicion of embarking on the shooting spree at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, near Fort Lauderdale.

“So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behaviour,” Trump tweeted on Thursday. “Neighbours and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!”

Classmates and neighbours told reporters that Cruz had behaviour problems, and social media linked to him shows a fixation with weaponry.

One unnamed classmate told the Jacksonville, Florida-based WJXT news channel that “everyone predicted” that Cruz would shoot up the school.

Cruz’s lawyer told the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel that Cruz legally possessed the AR-15 thought to have been used in the shooting.

It’s unclear what authorities could have done to prevent the shooting, however, if Cruz had merely acted in a threatening manner without violating any laws.

Trump has previously not supported efforts toward gun control after mass shootings, instead characterising them as a mental-health issue.

After the shooting that left 26 dead at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, in November, Trump said gun-control legislation wouldn’t help, and he praised an armed bystander for shooting the gunman after the gunman exited the church.

If found guilty, Cruz could face the death penalty in Florida.

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