Nation

What we know about the Florida school shooting suspect

People waited for loved ones as they were brought out of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after a shooting.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
People waited for loved ones as they were brought out of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after a shooting.

A former student opened fire at a Florida high school Wednesday as classes were being dismissed, killing at least 17 people.

Here’s what we know about the suspect from the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

 The suspected gunman was identified as Nikolas Cruz. Earlier, his name had been spelled Nicolas Cruz, but officials later corrected it.

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 Cruz is a 19-year-old male.

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 He is a former Marjory Stoneman Douglas High student but was previously expelled for disciplinary reasons.

 He had at least one semiautomatic weapon, multiple magazines of ammunition, a gas mask, and smoke grenades during the shooting, officials said.

Cruz purchased his semiautomatic weapon, an AR-15, legally about a year ago, a law enforcement official who is familiar with the investigation told The Associated Press.

 Cruz allegedly pulled the fire alarm in the school so “kids would come pouring out of the classrooms into the hall,” US Senator Bill Nelson of Florida said.

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 He killed at least 12 people within the school and two just outside the school, as well as one on Pine Island Road, the local sheriff said. Two other victims died in the hospital.

 About an hour after he left the school, he was taken into custody without incident in a residential neighborhood about a mile from the school.

 He was examined at a hospital after his arrest, questioned by officials for hours, and charged Thursday morning with 17 counts of premeditated murder.

Math teacher Jim Gard told the Miami Herald that he believes the school had previously sent out an e-mail that warned teachers Cruz shouldn’t be allowed on campus with a backpack.

Student Victoria Olvera, 17, said Cruz had been abusive to his ex-girlfriend and that his expulsion was over a fight with her new boyfriend.

A neighbor told the Sun-Sentinel that she once caught Cruz peeking in her window and that she and her husband were scared of him.

Student Dakota Mutchler, 17, recalled Cruz posting on Instagram about killing animals and said he had talked about doing target practice in his backyard with a pellet gun.

Cruz was getting treatment at a mental health clinic for a while but hadn’t been there for more than a year, Broward County Commissioner Beam Furr said during an interview with CNN.

 Neighbors told the Sun-Sentinel that Cruz’s mother died on Nov. 1 from pneumonia. His mother’s husband, who had previously adopted Cruz and his brother, died several years ago from a heart attack.

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 The family had moved to Broward County in Florida from Long Island in New York.

 When his mother died, Cruz moved in with a family friend. A few weeks later, around Thanksgiving, he moved in with a different friend’s family.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.