- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Mass murder suspect Nikolas Cruz carried ammunition magazines etched with swastikas when he went on a shooting rampage two weeks ago inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, according to new reports.

CBS News and CNN separately reported Tuesday that Mr. Cruz, 19, toted rifle magazines bearing the hate symbol when he went on a shooting spree at his former school Feb. 14, each citing a law enforcement source familiar with the investigation into the massacre.

One of the swastika magazines was found in the semi-automatic rifle Mr. Cruz used in the shooting and left at the school before fleeing the scene of the massacre amid a sea of students, CNN reported.

Mr. Cruz was arrested within hours of the shooting and confessed to authorities, according to police.

“Cruz stated that he was the gunman who entered the school campus armed with a AR-15 and began shooting students that he saw in the hallways and on the school grounds,” authorities wrote in a booking affidavit filed in connection with his arrest.

“Cruz stated that he brought additional loaded magazines to the school campus and kept them hidden in a backpack until he got on campus to begin his assault,” the affidavit said.

Mr. Cruz still had 180 rounds of ammunition left when he abandoned the shooting spree, CBS and CNN both reported Tuesday.

While a report published in the initial aftermath of the massacre linking Mr. Cruz to a white nationalist group was later retracted, subsequent reporting has suggested the shooting suspect used racist, hate-filled language in public and private settings.

Prior to being ejected from Stoneman Douglas, Mr. Cruz was the subject of a 2016 report initiated by a fellow student who said the future school shooter had drawn a swastika on his backpack alongside the N-word. More recently, Mr. Cruz espoused racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic views in private Instagram messages sent months before the massacre and since obtained by CNN.

“Shoot them in the back of head,” Mr. Cruz once wrote in one of the messages with respect to gay people, CNN reported previously.

“My real mom was a Jew. I am glad I never met her,” Mr. Cruz wrote another time.

Mr. Cruz has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder and is currently being held without bond. He’s considered pleading guilty in lieu of potentially facing the death penalty, an attorney for him said previously.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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