The nation is reeling again after 17 students and adults were confirmed dead after a gunman opened fire Wednesday at a Florida high school.
Police have confirmed that 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz was the gunman that turned a AR-15 rifle on students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. He has since been arrest and booked.
The shooting is the eighth deadliest mass shooting in contemporary US history, according to data collected by Mother Jones. Here is what we know so far about the suspect:
The Suspect Is In Custody
Cruz was booked into jail on 17 counts of premeditated murder, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel. He is expected to make his first court appearance on Thursday afternoon. He reportedly bought the gun used in the shooting legally.
Cruz Had Been Expelled
The suspect was expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school for disciplinary reasons. One of the teachers, Jim Gard, told the Miami Herald that Cruz had been banned from returning to campus while carrying a backpack.
“There were problems with him last year threatening students, and I guess he was asked to leave campus,” Gard told the newspaper. Cruz had also been receiving treatment for his mental health issues.
His Mother Died In November
Cruz was adopted at birth. His adoptive father died of a heart attack when Cruz was a child, and his mother, Lynda Cruz, died Nov. 1, the Sun Sentinel reports.
“He Was A Little Quirky”
Following his mother’s death, Cruz moved in with the family of a friend around Thanksgiving 2017.
“The family is devastated, they didn’t see this coming. They took him in and it’s a classic case of no good deed goes unpunished,” the family’s lawyer told the Sun Sentinel. “He was a little quirky and he was depressed about his mom’s death, but who wouldn’t be?”
This School Shooting Ranks High
Cruz’s actions have now led to the second-greatest loss of life from a shooting at a US public school since the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook elementary, Reuters reports. The number of fatalities also surpassed those of the 1999 school shooting at Columbine High School, making Wednesday’s shooting the deadliest ever at an American high school.
You may like
Get The Essence Newsletter and Special Offers delivered to your inbox!