In the week since Nikolas Cruz gunned down 17 people at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, countless reports have indicated that there were signs of something seriously amiss. Beyond the FBI not acting on multiple tips about his online threats and dozens of law enforcement calls to his residence(s), Cruz also introduced himself to folks as “a school shooter.” The family who most recently hosted him appears to be genuinely shocked to have missed warning signs of his monstrous capabilities, but his prior host family felt differently.
CNN reports that a family who took Cruz in following the death of his birth mother (she passed away in November 2017) told Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputies that he had “used a gun against people before” and had even “has put the gun to others’ heads in the past.” Rocxanne Deschamps, who was a neighbor of Cruz’s mother at the time of her death, had informally “adopted” both Cruz and his brother, and she and her family called deputies several times. Deputies reportedly witnessed him punching walls and losing control, and records indicated multiple warnings about guns:
On the day after Thanksgiving, Cruz was at work at a Dollar Tree store. Rocxanne Deschamps’ son, Rock, 22, called 911 to report that an “adopted 19-year-old son” had possibly hidden a “gun in the backyard,” according to a dispatcher’s notes. Rock Deschamps told law enforcement “there were no weapons allowed in the household,” the report said.
Rock interrupted Cruz and a fight broke out between them, according to the documents. Cruz left the home, and Rocxanne Deschamps called 911. She warned the police dispatcher that Cruz said “he was going to get his gun and come back,” records show. She said Cruz had “bought a gun from Dick’s last week and is now going to pick it up.”
Rocxanne Deschamps told the dispatcher that Cruz had “bought tons of ammo” and “has used a gun against ppl before,” the notes said. “He has put the gun to others heads in the past.”
Sheriff’s deputies classified the first incident as “domestic unfounded,” but it’s not clear whether or not the sheriff’s deputies adequately investigated the matter with a full search. The second incident was reportedly settled with a “hug” between Rock and Cruz, although the records also make clear that the family was unsettled by Cruz habitually lashing out when he didn’t take mood-altering medication for an unspecified condition.
In related news, Coral Springs Police have revealed that rescue and suspect-pursuit efforts were complicated during the massacre due to a 20-minute video delay from the school’s security cameras. This, likely, is what led to Cruz being able to duck away and grab fast food while he remained at large, while another student was initially implicated and held at gunpoint during the ongoing chaos.