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Nikolas Cruz is the alleged perpetrator of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School which killed 17 students and members of staff along with others who sustained injuries in February 2018. He has been locked up since after the shooting and awaiting his sentencing as he has already confessed to committing the crime on video.
Cruz had a history of getting into trouble long before the shooting and had been expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The apparently troubled young man who had lost his adoptive parents, lost his mother just 3 months before the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. In the light of Cruz’s confession, his lawyers proposed a plea bargain to take the death penalty off the table, but the prosecutors have refused the proposal.
Who Is Nikolas Cruz? (Age, Ethnicity)
Nikolas was born on the 24th of September 1998 and is an American. His adoptive parents, Lynda and Roger Cruz adopted him at birth in Margate Florida. His adoptive father, Roger died in 2004 at age of 67 and Lynda, his adoptive mother died 13 years later in 1997. Cruz’s mother’s death happened three months prior to the shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, Florida. After his mother’s death, he stayed with friends and relatives while he worked at a dollar store in the area and attended a GED program.
Prior to the high school shooting incident, Cruz had been a member of the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps and had been the recipient of several awards. He also belonged to Stoneman Douglas High School’s varsity air rifle team.
Nikolas Cruz had reportedly had behavioral issues since his middle school days. Within a period of 3 years, he had moved between schools on 6 occasions. It was reported that he had made threats to fellow students at a school for children with learning and emotional disabilities soon after he was transferred there. He later transferred back to Stoneman Douglas high school where more threats to fellow students were reported. The school authorities banned him from carrying a backpack within the school premises.
In 2013, psychiatrists had recommended that Cruz be admitted to a mental treatment facility. Even the Florida State Department of Children and Family investigated him due to a Snapchat video he uploaded with cuts on his hands and talked of buying a gun in 2016. Investigators who examined him, however, stated that there was little risk of him bringing harm to himself or other people. They, however, noted that he was depressed and was autistic. Cruz got mental treatment for a period but stopped long before the shooting.
In the 10 years leading to the shootings, the County sheriff, Scott Israel mentioned that he received over twenty calls concerning Cruz’s threats including his threat to open fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Family – Parents and Brother
Nikolas Cruz’s younger brother Zachary Cruz shared the same biological mother with him. Just like Nikolas, Zachary Cruz was also adopted as a baby. In the wake his brother’s opening fire on students and staff of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, a distraught Zachary visited his brother in jail and asked him why he did the shooting.
Nikolas Cruz responded by simply saying he was sorry between sobs as his younger brother Zachary embraced him. Zachary was arrested in March 2018, about a month after the mass shooting by his brother for trespassing the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School grounds and taken to court.
He pleaded to the trespassing charge, highlighting that he only went to the school to try to make sense of the havoc caused by his brother. However, the presiding judge had him jailed on a bond of $500,000. This led the lawyer defending him to point out that Zachary Cruz had been going through unimaginable trauma and deserved some leniency and compassion instead of being punished because of his brother. Eventually, the bond amount was reduced, and he was sentenced to six months of probation.
It was discovered that Nikolas Cruz’s biological mother has a long history of criminal offenses, some of which involved violence. This has led her in and out of jail frequently. She was reported to have indulged in drinking and taking drugs while pregnant with Cruz and his half-brother Zachary.
His mother had a daughter named Danielle before Cruz. Danielle who was taken from her mother into state care soon after she was born. She was raised by her grandmother and later started living in the streets after her grandmother died.
Cruz has never met his biological sister Danielle who is reported to have been involved in several crimes herself and once took a gun to her high school. Danielle as of the time of this writing is in prison on an attempted murder conviction and will only have a shot at getting out in 2020.