Confessed school shooter Nikolas Cruz repeatedly ranted against minorities and once bragged of writing to President Trump, according to private Instagram messages obtained following Wednesday’s massacre in Parkland, Florida.
Mr. Cruz, 19, espoused racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic views in a private group chat conducted on the Facebook-owned photo-sharing service in the months before this week’s rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County, CNN reported Friday.
He also, at one point, claimed to have written Mr. Trump and received a response, CNN reported.
The FBI referred to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, CNN reported. Neither the White House nor the Sheriff’s Office immediately returned messages seeking comment.
CNN said it came across the private Instagram messages while investigating comments left on a YouTube channel possibly written by Mr. Cruz. CNN was added to the private chat by one of its active members and subsequently gained access to messages allegedly written by Mr. Cruz dating back to August 2017, the network reported.
Racism was a constant theme in the chat, CNN reported, particularly among the account it linked to Mr. Cruz. In one excerpt, for example, Mr. Cruz allegedly wrote that he hated “jews, [expletives], immigrants,” using a racial slur for black people, CNN reported. He also allegedly talked about killing Mexicans, slicing the necks of blacks and executing gays.
“Shoot them in the back of head,” Mr. Cruz allegedly once wrote with respect to gay people, CNN reported.
“My real mom was a Jew. I am glad I never met her,” Mr. Cruz allegedly wrote in the chat.
Seventeen people were killed and more than a dozen injured after Mr. Cruz opened fire Wednesday at his former high school, according to authorities. He was arrested that afternoon and charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.
“He seemed nice but also had some mental issues,” a member of the Instagram chat told CNN. “All (I know) is that he likes guns and really hates liberals.”
Mr. Cruz has confessed to the shootings, according to police, and a defense attorney on Friday said his client was willing to plead guilty in exchange for a sentence of life without parole.