Outside hospital, families wait in fear
‘Everyone’ thought he’d open fire there, classmate tells TV.
Andrew Pollack kept calling his daughter’s phone, but no answer.
The man suspected of opening fire inside a Florida high school Wednes- day, killing at least 17 people, was a former student who had been expelled for disciplinary reasons, author- ities said.
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said Nikolas Cruz, 19, previously attended Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland but was expelled after getting into trouble. He was enrolled at another Broward County school, officials said.
In the hours after the shooting, people who knew Cruz described him as a “troubled kid” who enjoyed showing off his firearms and whose mother would resort to calling the police to have them come to their home to try to talk some sense into him.
“He always had guns on him,” a student at the school, who did not give his name, told WFOR-TV. “The crazy stuff that he did was not right for school, and he got kicked out of school multiple times for that kind of stuff.” Jim Gard, a math teacher at Douglas High School, said in an interview that Cruz was a student in his class during the first semester of the 2016-17 school year. In the class, he was quiet and not disruptive, Gard said.
But he recalled that school administrators became con- cerned last year about Cruz’s behavior and alerted the faculty. “We received emails about him from the admin- istration,” Gard said in an interview, adding that he did not recall the specific issues.
After the shooting on Wednesday, Gard said that several students told him that Cruz was taken with a girl at Douglas High School “to the point of stalking her.”
In the interview with the Miami news station, the stu- dent said Cruz was a junior at Douglas High School when he was expelled last year. He said that students would joke that if anyone were to open fire inside the school, it would be Cruz.
Because of that, students feared him and mostly stayed away from him, the student said.
“A lot of people were saying that it would be him,” the student told WFOR-TV. “They would say he would be the one to shoot up the school.
Everyone predicted it.”
Helen Pasciolla, who is retired, lives on an elegant street development in the Pine in Tree Parkland, Estates t hree houses down and across from where the Cruz family resided until about a year ago. Pasciolla said that Cruz told her that the family had to move out of their one-story beige house and sell it because they could no longer afford it.
She said that Cruz has a brother, Zachary, and that both boys were adopted. Their adoptive father died some years ago, she added. Pasciolla said that the boys’ mother, Lynda Cruz, had regular problems with their behavior.
Israel said that the authorities did not yet know the motive for the killing, but were learning more about Cruz through his social media pages, which he described as “very, very concerning.”
Screen shots of an Instagram to of Cruz a man page show holding said many to firearms belong photos and ammunition used in a semi-automatic AR-15 rifle. One photo shows several guns, including rifles with scopes, laying on a bed. Another appears to show a frog that had been killed.