The 19-year-old accused of killing 17 people at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, has claimed to have heard voices inside his head telling him to carry out the massacre.
Law enforcement sources have described the voices heard by Nikolas Cruz as being ‘demons,’ according to ABC News.
Cruz’s legal team have reported he suffers from autism and depression as well as other psychological issues.
Cruz had been a former pupil at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, but was reportedly expelled after as of yet undisclosed disciplinary reasons.
According to the Miami Herald, maths teacher Jim Gard said:
We were told last year that he wasn’t allowed on campus with a backpack on him.
There were problems with him last year threatening students and I guess he was asked to leave campus.
Fellow pupils have described Cruz’s outbursts towards teachers as well as his threatening behaviour towards other students.
Superintendent Runcie told reporters outside the school:
Potentially there could have been signs out there, but we didn’t have any warning or phone calls or threats that were made.
"I don't know what I do next. We are broken. But I can tell you, don't tell me there's no such thing as gun violence." Father of Florida school shooting victim speaks out at vigil. https://t.co/FUmA2HWqc4 pic.twitter.com/dtBxW4dn3v
— CBS News (@CBSNews) February 16, 2018
According to CNN, officers had been called to Cruz’s family home 39 times since 2010, responding to emergencies including ‘mentally ill person,’ ‘child/elderly abuse,’ ‘domestic disturbance’ and ‘missing person.’
Cruz’s adoptive mother passed away in November, with his father having already died years before due to a heart attack.
Cruz’s legal team have stated he’s on suicide watch and has an understanding of the magnitude of what he’s done.
His public defender, Melisa McNeil, told reporters:
He’s sad. He’s mournful. He’s remorseful. He is fully aware of what is going on and he’s just a broken human being.
He is dealing with the shock of all this that’s going on,
Cruz was apprehended by officers following a short manhunt after the attack and has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.
Broward School District Superintendent, Robert Runcie made the following statement:
It’s a day you pray every day you never have to see. We didn’t have any phone calls or threats that we know of that were made.
We cannot live in a world built on fear, we have do what we can to provide the greatest safety measures for our kids.
Mental health issues in this country are growing and it’s certainly something that needs to be addressed in our school system.
This shooting is the eighteenth to have occurred at an American school this year and is the third deadliest in US history.
Our thoughts are with all those who’ve been affected by this tragedy.
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.