Family who helped Cruz 'didn't see this side' of alleged shooter

By Karen Butler
Family who helped Cruz 'didn't see this side' of alleged shooter
Nikolas Jacob Cruz, 19, accused of killing 17 people at a South Florida high school on February 14, is pictured in his booking photo released by the Broward County Sheriff's Office. Photo via Broward County Sheriff/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 18 (UPI) -- James and Kimberly Snead say they saw no indication the orphaned teen they took in a few months ago might be capable of killing 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

Kimberly told The South Florida Sun Sentinel newspaper she brought 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz to a therapist this month because he was still struggling with the Nov. 1 death of his adoptive mother.


She said Cruz, who was arrested after Wednesday's mass shooting and charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder, was a friend of her son. Cruz had been taking classes, working and abiding by house rules regarding gun usage and safety since he moved in with their family.

"We had this monster living under our roof and we didn't know," said Kimberly, a neonatal intensive care nurse. "We didn't see this side of him."

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"Everything everybody seems to know, we didn't know," added her husband James, a decorated army veteran and a military intelligence analyst. "It's as simple as that."

They went on to say they don't know what his motive was and said he didn't display unusual behavior the night or morning before the mass shooting at their son's school.


The couple picked up their own child at Broward Sheriff's headquarters where he was being questioned by detectives. The family was in the building when police brought Cruz in wearing handcuffs.

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Kimberly attempted to run at him and yelled: "Really, Nik? Really?" as her husband tried to restrain her.

"He said he was sorry. He apologized. He looked lost, absolutely lost," said James. "And that was the last time we saw him."

The FBI said Friday it did not follow proper protocols after receiving a tip in January about Cruz's "desire to kill people" and access to firearms.

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This was one of a number of indicators prior to the shooting that Cruz acted suspiciously or made threatening comments.

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel also said his office received about 20 calls about Cruz.

"Every one of these calls for service will be looked at and scrutinized," he said.

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Five Parkland students appeared on Fox News Sunday to announce they are planning nationwide March for Our Lives demonstrations March 24 demanding changes to prevent future school violence.

David Hogg described the event as a "student-led, grass-roots movement."

"We need a discussion where we hear both sides," the senior said. "From the Republicans, they can talk about mental healthcare and from the Democrats, they can talk about gun control, but what we need to do here is come together, not as Democrats or Republicans, but as Americans and work together to solve this issue through love and compassion. ... This is the time for change and we can't let this ever happen again."


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