“He wore a gas mask and smoke grenades. He set off the fire alarms so the kids would come out in the hallways. And thus, he had the opportunity with the crowded hallways to start picking off people.” @SenBillNelson on the Florida school shooting suspect. #Hardball pic.twitter.com/wtL0rmV9Wp
— Hardball (@hardball) February 15, 2018
In the wake of Wednesday’s Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida that killed at least 17 people, the U.S. is struggling for answers and stuck on repeat. Authorities are now releasing more information about alleged gunman Nikolas Cruz to paint more of a picture of what went on inside the school and what would his motive may have been. Cruz, as a former student of the school, was obviously familiar with the school’s layout, and in the above MSNBC Hardball clip, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) reveals what he learned about Cruz’s actions after being briefed by federal authorities.
Nelson relays how Cruz wore a gas mask while using smoke grenades. He likely tripped some alarms with the grenades but also manually pulled them to draw students out of classrooms and into hallways, where they were easy targets for his AR-15 (which he legally purchased after passing a background check). As Nelson said, this gave Cruz “the opportunity with the crowded hallways to start picking off people.” Indeed, as Marco Rubio (R-FL) stated on Twitter, he gathered from the same briefing that the “attack was designed & executed to maximize loss of life.”
The New York Times has gathered more facts about the alleged shooter, who has now been charged with 17 counts of murder, and his background. 19-year-old Cruz had been expelled (after being suspended multiple times) from Stoneman Douglas High School, according to Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel. He’s currently enrolled in a different high school in the same county, and people who knew him have described him as “troubled” and obsessed with guns. He also reportedly “bragg[ed] about killing animals” and was obsessed with a female student “to the point of stalking her.”