Soon after suspected Florida shooter Nikolas Cruz was apprehended, details of the massacre emerged regarding his tactics and his possible motive. More troubling, though, are the warning signs that allowed Cruz to slip through the cracks. The FBI was alerted to Cruz after some of his social media threats were reported last year and, as so often happens, Cruz shared a trait with many other mass shooters: he was abusive to women.
According to the Boston Globe, at least one student described Cruz as abusive to his ex-girlfriend and said his expulsion from Mary Stoneman Douglas High School followed a fight with that girl’s new boyfriend. Several students said that Cruz frequently posted pictures of guns and other weapons on social media. He was also known for posting about killing animals, and the Sun Sentinel reports that his neighbors witnessed disturbing behavior toward animals:
He used to get into trouble and harass neighbors, the Roxburghs said. The police came to Cruz’s house many times, they said. A neighbor across the street kept little pigs as pets. “He didn’t like the pigs and didn’t like the neighbors so he sent over his dog over there to try to attack them,” Malcolm said.
Christine said one time she saw Nikolas peeking in her window. “I said what are you doing here? He said he was looking for golf balls. I said ‘this isn’t the golf course,’” Christine said.
However, a school official told the Boston Globe that they weren’t aware of any threats made by Cruz. “Typically you see in these situations that there potentially could have been signs out there,” Broward County School District Superintendent Robert Runcie said. “I would be speculating at this point if there were, but we didn’t have any warnings. There weren’t any phone calls or threats that we know of that were made.”