Nikolas Jacob Cruz, who was 19 years old at the time of the crime, entered a school in Florida with a single goal: to kill people. He was a former student and had been expelled from the institution. The victims could be any people who passed in front of him.
The crime occurred on the afternoon of February 14, 2018, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, metropolitan Florida.
Wielding a Smith & Wesson M&P15 rifle that he legally purchased a year earlier, Nikolas Cruz arrived at the school by Uber at 2:19 pm. With the gun hidden in his backpack, he entered through the front door and soon after began the series of murders.
The shooting began at 2:21 pm, and lasted about 7 minutes, long enough for him to kill 17 people. That being three employees and fourteen students, ranging in age from 14 to 18. Among the victims, twelve died inside the school, two died outside the school grounds, one died in the street, and two died in the hospital.
Actions after the massacre and capture
When the students began to flee, he decided to discard his AR-15 rifle and a vest he was wearing to blend into the crowd. Nikolas managed to flee the scene by infiltrating among the students.
After that, he went to a Walmart and the Subway store (which was inside the hypermarket) and ordered a drink. Then, at 3:01 PM, he walked to the McDonald’s across the street, and sat there for a short time. Still wearing the same clothes used during the massacre.
The police were soon able to identify who the killer was, and where he had fled. With that, it did not take long to track him down.
At 3:41 p.m. he was captured by police officers who were searching the area for him. The fact that he kept the same clothes on and was still acting normally around the area where the crime was committed shows that Nikolas acted coldly, showing no feelings in carrying out the crime.
Nikolas Cruz childhood
Nikolas has only one living relative, his younger brother. They have never met their biological parents, both are adopted. About him adoptive parents, his mother died only a year before the massacre, and his father died in 1998, still during his childhood.
Her biological mother, Brenda Woodard, often had nowhere to live and was begging for money on the street. In addition, she was a petty crime offender, with a total of 28 arrests. At one of these times, she was pregnant with Nikolas and was arrested for buying methamphetamine. According to police records, Brenda’s last arrest was in 2011.
The two have never met. Although Brenda is still alive, the two are complete strangers to each other, the only thing they share is their genetic.
The boy has a biological mother who is a drug user and her past contributed to his genetic makeup, through alcohol and drug use, and this was passed on to the baby in his development inside her belly. This will probably be one of the arguments of the defense.
His adoptive mother, Lynda Cruz, on the other hand, was a calm and quiet person, and who gave a high-quality suburban upbringing to Nikolas. She was known to drink wine, but nothing excessive.
Fascination for guns
Nikolas Cruz had several behavioral and learning problems throughout his life, along with an obsession with guns and his own alcohol and drug problems.
On his Instagram there were several photos with guns, as well as other unclear about their meaning and even disturbing images.
He wished to join the United States Army Ranger, the elite of the United States Army, but was unsuccessful in the entrance exam.
In order to be able to purchase his gun, Nikolas went through a background check through the FBI’s criminal database. And he was approved. According to the laws of the United States, if someone is considered mentally disabled, he is prohibited from carrying a firearm by federal law, which was not the case.
FBI receives allegations about Nikolas
In September 2017, a few months before the massacre, it was reported to the FBI that Nikolas had made posts on social media stating a desire to become a professional school shooter with his rifle.
In January 2018, a month before the shooting, the FBI received another piece of information, this time that Nikolas had made a death threat. However, due to an error, the Miami police office was not notified of the information.
Just months before the massacre, Nikolas was recorded by a neighbor while shooting in the backyard of his home. At first he was practicing target practice with a pneumatic gun. Nikolas quickly returned inside the house. The neighbor who recorded the video reported that he never saw him with a real gun.
Video recorded before the massacre
A few days before the crime, Nikolas recorded a video where he said his plan was to kill at least twenty people inside the school.
“My name is Nick, and I will be the next school shooter of 2018, my goal is to kill at least twenty people.”Nikolas’ speech as he starts the video.
The video was deleted from his cell phone, yet the police were still able to recover the recording.
Nikolas Cruz is still on trial, the court’s idea is to decide the sentence by the end of 2021.
His lawyers said he would plead guilty if the prosecution agreed to exchange the death penalty for life in prison. A proposal that was not accepted.
If the case goes to the death penalty phase, all twelve jurors must agree on the death penalty or the defendant will receive an automatic life sentence.