Students Describe Florida School Shooting Suspect as Troubled

February 14, 2018 11:24 PM

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel says the 19-year-old suspect in the deadly school shooting, Nikolas Cruz, had been expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School for "disciplinary reasons."

Cruz open fired at the high school Wednesday, killing 17 people, according to law enforcement. Cruz, who was equipped with a gas mask and smoke grenades, set off a fire alarm to draw students out of their classrooms shortly before the school day ended, officials said.


Israel said he doesn't know the specifics of why Cruz had been expelled from the south Florida high school.

But Victoria Olvera, a 17-year-old junior, said Cruz was expelled last school year after a fight with his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend.

RELATED: 17 Dead, at Least 14 Injured in Florida High School Shooting

School officials haven't confirmed such accounts, but said Cruz was attending another school in Florida's Broward County after his expulsion.

One 17-year-old junior, Dakota Mentcher, said he used to be friends with Cruz, but hadn't seen him in more than a year after his expulsion. He said of Cruz: "He started progressively getting a little more weird."

Israel added that Cruz had posted highly disturbing material on social media before the shooting rampage.

Israel said investigators are dissecting the suspect's social media posts and found material that is "very, very disturbing." He didn't elaborate.

An ex-schoolmate recalled Cruz posting on Instagram about killing animals, and said he talked of doing target practice in his backyard with a pellet gun. A school superintendent, Robert Runcie, told reporters he didn't know of any concerns raised about Cruz.

Student Daniel Huerfano told The Associated Press he remembers seeing Cruz walking around the school with his lunch bag, adding, "He was that weird kid that you see ... like a loner."


Associated Press

(Copyright 2018 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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