Yesterday, February 14th, 17 lives were taken by a school shooter in Parkland, Florida. A former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, has been identified as the shooter. He has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder. And it seems as though many of Cruz’s former classmates are not surprised that he was behind the attack.
“He always seemed like the unstable type, the type who would do this sort of thing,” one student told local CNN affiliate WFOR. “He was always in trouble…He had that look to him, kind of sinister.”
Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie stated that Cruz had previously been expelled from school for disciplinary issues. Police are now investigating Cruz’s social media and internet history. What they’ve found so far is “very, very disturbing,” according to Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel.
“We actually, a lot of kids threw jokes around like that, saying that he’s the one to shoot up the school, but it turns out everyone predicted it. It’s crazy,” another Marjory Stoneman Douglas student told WFOR.
Cruz was identified as the shooter via the school’s security footage. Police tracked him down and arrested him in the neighboring town of Coral Springs. He reportedly slid by police by pretending he was one of the evacuating students.
Cruz carried out the shooting by pulling the fire alarm at Marjory Stoneman Douglas minutes before the release bell rang. As students and teachers began to evacuate, Cruz began shooting, armed with an AR-15 firearm and several magazines, which Cruz purchased legally.
Students and teachers went into code red — a procedure used when an active shooter is inside the building. They remained huddled in their classrooms until police evacuated the space.
As CNN reported, Cruz’s spree is the ninth deadliest mass shooting in United States history and the 18th school shooting this year alone. Including this recent massacre, three of the deadliest mass shootings have occurred within the past five months (the Las Vegas Harvest Festival and Sutherland Springs church shooting).
We once again are feeling both grief and anger — the latter directed toward the legislators who continue to fight common sense gun laws. It’s a sickening cycle that we’ve become all too familiar with, forcing us to again wonder: How many lives will it take before officials step up?