Out­side hos­pi­tal, fam­i­lies wait in fear

‘Ev­ery­one’ thought he’d open fire there, class­mate tells TV.

The Palm Beach Post - - FRONT PAGE - Matthew Haag and Serge F. Ko­valeski © 2018 New York Times

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.

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