- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The teenager arrested in the fatal school shooting in Florida has been identified as a former Army JROTC member wielding an AR-15 rifle.

The Broward County Sheriff’s Department identified the suspect Wednesday evening via Twitter as Nikolas Cruz, a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

According to Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel at a Wednesday evening press conference, the suspect “got expelled for disciplinary reasons” from Douglas High, though he did not elaborate.

At least one fellow student said Mr. Cruz was a “troubled kid” with a gun obsession who even stood out in alternative school.

Math teacher Jim Gard told the Miami Herald that Mr. Cruz had been in his class last year, with red flags from officials identifying him as a potential threat to the school.

“We were told last year that he wasn’t allowed on campus with a backpack on him,” Mr. Gard said.

SEE ALSO: Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida: Shooting reported

“There were problems with him last year threatening students, and I guess he was asked to leave campus,” the teacher told the Herald.

Mr. Cruz was first named by the Herald as the suspect in the shooting, though it and multiple news outlets that followed spelled his name “Nicolas,” which the sheriff’s department initially “corrected” to “Nikolaus.”

According to the U.K. Daily Mail, who also named Mr. Cruz, “police describe him as … a former member of the U.S. Army Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program.”

Sheriff Israel said the gunman went in with a rifle, heavily armed.

“We believe he had one AR-15 rifle,” he said. “He had countless magazines.”

One unnamed student told TV station WSVN, Channel 7, that he knew the shooter from when they were both in alternative school.

“He’s been a troubled kid and he’s always had a certain amount of issues going on. He shot guns because he felt it gave him, I guess, an exhilarating feeling,” he told the Miami Fox affiliate.

“I stayed clear of him most of the time. … I did not want to be with him at all because I didn’t want to cause any conflict with him, because of the impression he gave off,” the student told WSVN.

According to Trace Gallagher of Fox News, who said the network had “scoured his social-media footprint,” Mr. Cruz was “clearly obsessed with guns; he was attached to and followed all kinds of gun groups.”

“We should also note that a couple days ago, as far as a week ago, that he was involved in a YouTube chat room conversation about bombs or building bombs,” Mr. Gallagher said.

Sheriff Israel told reporters earlier Wednesday that the suspect was arrested off-campus, but “I was told there was no confrontation” and the suspect was “taken in without incident.”

According the sheriff, the suspect also was taken to the hospital, though he didn’t specify why.

The Herald said Mr. Cruz “was cornered and taken into custody in a townhouse at Pelican Pointe at Wyndham Lakes in Coral Springs.”

Besides the person in custody, Sheriff Israel said, there are no suspects.

• Victor Morton can be reached at vmorton@washingtontimes.com.

Copyright © 2022 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide