Florida teen Nikolas Cruz has confessed to starting the rampage at a Florida school on February 14 that resulted in the death of 17 people. The 19-year-old has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.
Here’s everything we know about Cruz, who shot dead 14 students and three adults at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
Cruz was adopted as a baby by Roger and Lydia. Roger died a few years ago and Lydia passed away last November. Nikolas has been struggling with depression and grief ever since he lost his mother, who was the only person he was close to. He had received mental health treatment in the past.
He was expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School for disciplinary reasons. Nikolas was reportedly involved in a physical altercation with his ex-girlfriend’s current boyfriend.
He often used his social media platforms to brag about his collection of weapons.
Nikolas was a member of a white supremacist group called the Republic of Florida. Nikolas has participated in his group’s paramilitary drills in Tallahassee.
Nikolas was staying with a family friend after the death of his adoptive mother. The family knew about the AR-15 rifle Cruz used in the shooting, but they had made him keep the gun in a safe. However, he had the key to the safe.
Nikolas legally purchased the gun last year after passing a required background check.
After the firing incident, Nikolas headed to a Subway restaurant and bought a drink before walking to a McDonald’s. He was arrested in the town of Coral Springs about 40 minutes after leaving the McDonald’s.
The FBI was aware of Nikolas after a YouTube user with the same name posted a comment on a video that said: “I’m going to be a professional school shooter”.
A motive for the rampage is yet to be determined.