In the years leading up to the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, accused gunman Nikolas Cruz accumulated a long list of disciplinary problems and mental health concerns. The teenager was suspended for a fight, transferred to a school for troubled students and reported to law enforcement numerous times. At least three times, people contacted law enforcement to warn that Cruz could carry out a school shooting. Here’s a look at the red flags in the life of Cruz.
Sept. 24th, 1998
Nikolas Cruz born
Cruz’s brother, Zachary, is born
Nikolas and Zachary were adopted very early in their lives by Lynda and Roger Cruz. Relatives say the boys shared a biological mother but have different fathers.
Jan. 23, 2002
Cruz diagnosed as developmentally delayed
Aug. 11, 2004
Roger Cruz dies
Aug. 28, 2012
Cruz receives a suspension for fighting at Westglades Middle School
During the 2013 school year, 26 disciplinary incidents are added to Cruz’s record at Westglades Middle School -- averaging nearly three per month.
Jan. 15, 2013
Lynda Cruz tells Broward County sheriff her son has anger issues
A Broward County sheriff responded to the Cruz’s Parkland home after Lynda Cruz reports that she was thrown against the wall after taking away 14-year-old Nikolas’s Xbox. Mental health clinicians advised Nikolas did not need to be held under the Baker Act.
Feb. 6, 2014
Cruz transfers to Cross Creek School, for students with emotional or behavioral problems
Cruz leaves Westglades Middle School in the 8th grade and enrolls in a school that offers psychiatric and other clinical services on campus.
Jan. 13, 2016
Cruz transfers to Stoneman Douglas
Cruz is allowed to leave Cross Creek in the 10th grade and enrolls in the mainstream public high school, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Feb. 5, 2016
Anonymous report that Cruz stated on Instagram that he plans to shoot up the school
The Broward County sheriff receives a report from an unnamed neighbor whose son said Cruz posted a photo of himself with guns on Instagram, saying he planned to shoot up the school. The sheriff’s office forwarded the information to the Stoneman Douglas school resource officer.
Sept. 24, 2016
Cruz’s 18th birthday
Sept. 28, 2016
Sheriff receives two reports related to Cruz allegedly hurting himself
A school resource officer reports that a peer counselor told him that Cruz ingested gasoline in an effort to commit suicide and was cutting himself. He also allegedly said he wanted to buy a gun and possessed hate-related symbols. A mental health clinician said Cruz didn’t need to be held under the Baker Act. Eight hours later, a sheriff’s deputy responds to Cruz’s home on allegations that Cruz is hurting himself and talking about buying a gun.
Sept. 28, 2016
State welfare agency opens case on Cruz, citing “medical neglect”
Florida Department of Children and Families opens a case on Cruz, calling him “a vulnerable adult due to mental illness.” The report notes that Cruz said he plans to buy a gun, but “it is unknown what he is buying the gun for.”
Nov. 12, 2016
Florida Department of Children and Families closes its case on Cruz
In its report, the Florida Department of Children and Families says Cruz’s “final level of risk is low,” noting that his mental health clinician said Cruz takes medication regularly and keeps his appointments. The report states that Cruz suffers from depression, ADHD and autism. It also reports that he doesn’t have a gun.
Jan. 19, 2017
Cruz reported for an assault Stoneman Douglas
Cruz is reported for an alleged assault and referred for a threat assessment, according to school discipline records.
Feb. 8, 2017
Cruz leaves Stoneman Douglas and enrolls at an alternative learning program
Cruz enrolls in the Off Campus Learning Centers, a program that offers high school diplomas and vocational training to students who have trouble in traditional schools or have dropped out.
Feb. 11, 2017
Cruz buys an AR-15 from a Coral Springs, Fla., gun store
Cruz purchases the AR-15 used in the shooting from Sunrise Tactical Supply. The transaction is later confirmed by the retailer's lawyers. Federal authorities say the gun was purchased legally. Cruz purchased at least 10 weapons before the shooting, all rifles and shotguns, according to a law enforcement official.
“nikolas cruz” says he plans to be a school shooter in a YouTube comment
A person with the screenname “nikolas cruz” leaves a comment on Mississippi bail bondsman Ben Bennight’s YouTube channel: “Im going to be a professional school shooter.” Bennight alerts the FBI and two agents interview him.
Nov. 1, 2017
Lynda Cruz dies of pneumonia at age 68
After Lynda dies, family friend Rocxanne Deschamps takes in Nikolas and Zachary, who move into her home in Lake Worth, Fla., about 30 miles north of Parkland.
Nov. 1, 2017
Lynda’s cousin advises sheriff to take away Cruz’s weapons
A cousin of Lynda’s reportedly tells the Broward County Sheriff’s Office that Cruz has rifles and requests that they be taken away in light of Lynda’s death.
Rock Deschamps reports Cruz has burried a 9mm gun in the backyard
Rock Deschamps, Rocxanne’s son, tells law enforcement that Cruz was digging in the backyard for 15 minutes and “I’m positive he hid a weapon.”
Nov. 29, 2017
Family friend whom Cruz is staying with calls 911
Rocxanne Deschamps calls authorities to report a fight between Cruz and her son. She said Cruz became violent, punching walls and left to get a gun. She tells law enforcement that she forbade Cruz from bringing guns to her home.
Nov. 30, 2017
Broward County Sheriff’s Office receives tip that Cruz could become a school shooter
A caller from Massachusetts tells the sheriff’s office that Cruz is collecting guns and knives and could kill himself or become a school shooter. A deputy refers the call to the Palm Beach sheriff’s office after the caller notes Cruz has moved to Lake Worth , Fla. The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office said it was never told of the threat.
late November 2017
Cruz leaves the Deschamps home and moves in with the Sneads
Jan. 5, 2018
FBI receives a tip that Cruz might attack a school
The FBI receives a tip from “a person close to Nikolas Cruz” who is worried about Cruz "getting into a school and just shooting the place up." The caller reported concerns about Cruz’s “gun ownership, desire to kill people, erratic behavior, and disturbing social media posts, as well as the potential of him conducting a school shooting,” according to an FBI statement. The agency ignores the warning.
Feb. 14, 2018
Shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School kills 17 students and faculty
Police say Cruz took an Uber to the school, carrying a black duffle bag, and opened fire in the “freshman building” with an AR-15.