The Dallas Morning News

State determined shooter low-risk

Agency investigat­ed him in 2016, knew he wanted to buy gun

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PARKLAND, Fla. — A Florida social services agency conducted an in-home investigat­ion of Nikolas Cruz after he exhibited troubling behavior nearly a year and a half before he shot and killed 17 people at his former high school in Florida, a state report shows.

The agency, the Florida Department of Children and Families, had been alerted to posts on Snapchat of Cruz cutting his arms and expressing interest in buying a gun, according to the report. But after visiting and questionin­g Cruz at his home, the department determined he was at low risk of harming himself or others.

The report is the latest indication that Cruz was repeatedly identified by local and federal agencies as a troubled young man with violent tendencies. The FBI conceded Friday that it had failed to investigat­e a tip called in to a hotline last month by a person close to Cruz identifyin­g him as a gun owner intent on killing people, possibly at a school. The local police were called to Cruz’s house many times for disturbanc­es over several years.

Cruz also worried officials at his former school, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, who on at least one occasion alerted a mobile crisis unit to get him emergency counseling, the state report said.

Howard Finkelstei­n, the Broward County public defender whose office is representi­ng Cruz, said the report was further evidence that Cruz needed serious help long before the shooting but did not get enough.

Also Saturday, thousands of angry students, parents, teachers and supporters rallied in nearby Fort Lauderdale to demand that immediate action be taken on gun-control legislatio­n. Cruz used a legally purchased semiautoma­tic rifle to kill students and staff at the high school.

“Because of these gun laws, people that I know, people that I love, have died, and I will never be able to see them again,” Delaney Tarr, a student at the school, told the crowd.

President Donald Trump lashed out at the FBI on Twitter Saturday night, saying that the agency had “missed all of the many signals” sent by the suspect.

“This is not acceptable,” Trump said. He insisted that FBI agents were “spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign — there is no collusion.”

He added, “Get back to the basics and make us all proud!” The New York Times, The Associated Press

 ?? Brynn Anderson/The Associated Press ?? Helena Moreno (center) was among thousands who rallied Saturday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to demand that immediate action be taken on gun-control legislatio­n.
Brynn Anderson/The Associated Press Helena Moreno (center) was among thousands who rallied Saturday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to demand that immediate action be taken on gun-control legislatio­n.

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