What we know about alleged school shooter Nikolas Cruz

Shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz.
Shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz.Broward County Jail via AP

Here’s what we know about the life of 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz up to the point he allegedly killed 17 people during a mass shooting Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.:

■  Cruz was expelled from Douglas High last year for unspecified disciplinary issues. Students, faculty, and parents cited a number of possible reasons for the expulsion, including alleged threats to peers, a possible episode that involved bringing knives on campus, and a fight with the new boyfriend of his ex-girlfriend.

■  A math teacher at the school said Cruz had previously been identified as a threat to students. Cruz was known to other students as a loner who was obsessed with weapons. He had undergone mental health treatment.


■  Investigators say they are looking into his social media accounts and described them as “disturbing.” The FBI says they looked into a YouTube comment made by a “nikolas cruz” in September who said he wanted to be a “professional school shooter.” But the FBI said it had been unable to identify the person who had made the comment.

■  Cruz, as a freshman, was a member of the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps and marksmen groups and might have been wearing his JROTC polo shirt on the day of the shooting.

■  Cruz’s adoptive mother, Lynda Cruz, died of pneumonia on Nov. 1. His adoptive father, Roger Cruz, had died several years earlier of a heart attack.

■  In February 2017, Cruz legally purchased an AR-15 rifle that he allegedly used in the shooting. The family he had been living with made him store the firearm in a locked cabinet, but he had a key. They said they didn’t see any signs of impending violence.

■  Cruz had recently worked at a Dollar Store while going to finish his high school diploma.

■  On the morning of the shooting, Cruz did not get up for his adult GED class. According to the lawyer of the family Cruz was living with, Cruz told the patriarch of the family it was Valentine’s Day and “I don’t go to school on Valentine’s Day.”


■  The leader of a white nationalist militia said Cruz was a member of his group and participated in paramilitary drills in Tallahassee. The man said he didn’t know Cruz personally and that ‘‘he acted on his own behalf of what he just did and he’s solely responsible for what he just did.’’

Material from The Associated Press, CNN, Miami Herald, New York Times, Washington Post and South Florida Sun Sentinel was used in this report.