President Donald Trump pointed his finger at people who knew about Florida shooter Nikolas Cruz’s disturbing behavior but failed to report him to the police.
So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 15, 2018
Turns out, they had — 30 times.
A fuller picture of Cruz is still emerging but most of his acquaintances agree he had violent tendencies and was a loner. Disturbing cell phone footage also shows the suspected killer wearing a MAGA cap and firing a handgun aimlessly, before tucking it back into his waistband and going inside his house.
Cruz’s former neighbor, Rhonda Roxburgh, who now lives in North Carolina, said “he had a very cold stare.” In an interview with CNN, Roxburgh said she would see him shooting squirrels with a pellet gun. She also said cats went missing in the neighborhood and she and other neighbors suspected Cruz killed them too.
Cruz would also reportedly fight with the kids in the neighborhood, once even biting the ear of a boy.
The neighborhood repeatedly called the cops on him — however nothing was done.
“I’d heard from other neighbors who had reported that behavior to the authorities that they had been called out to that house over 30 times,” she said, before she shifted to another state.
One of Cruz’s former friends, Joshua Charo, said the suspected shooter would send him pictures of guns and other weapons on social media. He was kicked out of school for “behavioral issues” and for carrying bullet casings in his bag.
“He was studying marksmanship in JROTC,” Charo added, referring to the U.S. Army Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps.
Dakota Mutchler, 17, said he used to be a close friend of Cruz before he was expelled from school but then he started “progressively getting a little more weird.”
According to Mutchler, Cruz also posted on his Instagram about killing animals and used to do target practice with a pellet gun in the backyard.
“I’m not surprised that it was him.” Neighbors describe Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz as “weird” and “aggressive,” describing past instances of Cruz shooting chickens with pellet guns and harming other animals. https://t.co/p6DVr9mFlE pic.twitter.com/LA5yGrUDWe— ABC News (@ABC) February 16, 2018
In September, a YouTube vlogger, Ben Bennight, reported the FBI when he saw someone by the same name of Nikolas Cruz post how he wanted to be a “professional school shooter.” Bennight tried to email the screenshot of the ominous post to the FBI and then called them on their hotline. The FBI came to his office to conduct an interview and Bennight said he knew nothing of the person who made the comment. The FBI went way and once again, nothing was done.
In the aftermath of the shooting, Bennight received another call from the FBI asking him for more information about Cruz — but it was already too late.
At a press conference, the FBI confirmed it had received a tip about a “professional school shooter” last year but could not find anything about him in their criminal background checks — so they abandoned the search.
Now 17 people are dead.
Perhaps if the police or FBI had put more time and effort into finding out Cruz, they could have placed him on the radar and the terrible tragedy could have been averted. What will it take for law enforcement officials to take domestic terrorism seriously? Would they have been still so lax if the suspect had turned out to be a person of color?
Dear Mr. President,— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) February 15, 2018
The problem with school shootings in this country is that individuals like Nikolas Cruz, previously reported to the FBI as a potential threat, was still able to purchase an AR-15 over-the-counter like a slice of pizza.
I am at a loss for words. The President of the United States this morning blamed the actions of Nikolas Cruz on his "neighbors and classmates" for not reporting him.— Brian Krassenstein🐬 (@krassenstein) February 16, 2018
- Gun Store Owners
- Gun Manufacturers
- The NRA
- The President of this nation
Meanwhile, the president and his cronies are determined to not “politicize” the issue — even though that is exactly what is needed now. The time has been up for “prayers and condolences” ever since the Columbine school shooting 20 years ago. Congress needs to come up with some concrete gun control laws now. It is already too late for some parents, but perhaps if action is taken now, we can keep history from repeating itself.
Banner/Thumbnail credit: REUTERS/Susan Stocker/Pool