Disturbing Instagram history of Florida high school shooter revealed
Yesterday, at least 17 people were killed and a further 14 were injured after a teenager open-fired at a crowd congregated outside the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The shooter, Nikolas Cruz, had been expelled from the Parkland school last year, and was captured alive before being taken into custody.
Broward County Sheriff, Scott Israel, said that Cruz was believed to have been armed with a semiautomatic weapon, and had come prepared with multiple magazines. He described the crime as a "horrific, detestable act," and added that law enforcement were looking into the teenager's "very, very disturbing" social media profiles in order to give them some idea of his motive.
Since then, some images from his Instagram account have emerged, and they are as chilling as Israel warned.
Several images show the 19-year-old killer posing with knives and guns, almost always with his face concealed.
Other posts show the young man's gun collection, and one image even shows him asking for advice on whether or not he should purchase a particular weapon.
"I plan on getting this but I need more information on it so if someone could give advice ... please to god let me know," he wrote alongside the image of a Maverick shotgun. He also commented later on saying that he needed it "for hunting".
According to reports, Cruz was a known threat to students at the school. One math teacher, Jim Guard, said: "We were told last year that he wasn't allowed on campus with a backpack on him," adding that, "there were problems with him last year threatening students, and I guess he was asked to leave campus."
What's more, several students have said that they were not entirely shocked by the revelation that it was Cruz who had committed the horrific attack.
Brandon Minoff, a student who had once been in the same classes as Cruz, said that it was "surreal" to hear that the 19-year-old had been named as the shooter, but added that he "wasn't surprised" by the news.
"I got paired with him for a project, and he started talking to me about his life — how he was held back twice, expelled from two private schools. He likes to do reckless stuff," Minoff said. "He had aspirations to join the military. He enjoyed hunting."
Another student, Matthew Walker, told reporters that "A lot of kids threw jokes around saying that he was going to be the one to shoot up the school. It turns out that everyone predicted it. That's crazy."
"He was going class to class just shooting at random kids," Walker said. "Everything he posts [on social media] is about weapons. It's sick."
Cruz was also found to have posted several pictures of mutilated animals, and comments traced to accounts belonging to him on YouTube showed that he had made threatening statements about killing people.
"I whana [sic] shoot people with my AR-15," said one comment. "I wanna die Fighting killing s**t ton of people," read another. Cruz was even found to have specifically targeted members of law enforcement, writing: "I am going to kill law enforcement one day they go after the good people" in the comments of one video.
This is the eighth school shooting this year in the USA, and has once again sparked discussion about gun laws in the USA.
"Are we coming to expect these mass shootings to be routine? And then after every one we say ‘enough is enough’ and then it continues to happen?" said Florida congressman, Bill Nelson, on Wednesday.
Five of the people shot yesterday are still in a critical condition after sustaining life-threatening injuries.