Nikolas Cruz Biography
Nikolas Cruz is an American gunman. He was born in South Florida, his adoptive mother Lynda was in the delivery room to watch him emerge. The nurse handed the baby to her. She was elated.
By the time Nikolas was 3 years old, he was diagnosed with developmental delays. By the time he was 6 years old, Nikolas had suffered the trauma of witnessing his father’s death. By the time he was 16, he was preoccupied with wars, death, and killing, school records reveal. And he never made it to 20 in the outside world. Lynda and Roger Cruz knew their new son had challenges, but neither lived to see what he was capable of.
Currently, Nikolas sits in the Broward County main jail. He confessed to shooting 33 former classmates, coaches and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, the school he was kicked out of in his junior year. Seventeen of his victims died.
His troubled life is coming into sharper focus, through police and school records and interviews with friends, family and former classmates.
Nikolas has been described as “lost,” “lonely” and violent. In eighth grade, Nikolas was assigned to a school for students with emotional problems. He badly wanted to attend a “regular” high school, school records say. His wish was granted, and Marjory Stoneman Douglas was that school.
Nikolas Cruz Age
Nikolas was born on September 24, 1998, in South Florida. He is 22 years old.
Nikolas Cruz Parents
Nikolas was born in South Florida. His adoptive parents are Lynda Cruz and Roger Cruz who married late in life. Roger was 61 and had four kids from a previous marriage.
A close family friend and former neighbor, who asked that her name not be published, told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that Cruz’s parents arranged the private adoption through an attorney. They insisted the birth mother pass drug tests and visit the doctor. The baby’s father was unknown, the friend said.
Later less than a year, the same woman got pregnant again. The second baby had a different father. Lynda and Roger adopted that boy, Zachary, as well. Their family was complete.
His mother was a stay-at-home mom. She drove a minivan, and she was an involved mother, ferrying Nikolas and his brother to Zachary’s sports games and involving them in the building of Parkland’s Liberty Park, the friend said.
Nikolas and his brother were raised Catholic and had their communions and confirmations, the family friend said.
Nikolas Cruz Father’s Death
When Nikolas was 5 years old he was in the den with his father and his mother was in the kitchen, the friend said. He came down the hallway and went to his room, and he was crying. Her mother asked him ‘What’s the matter, did Daddy punish you?’ Just as clear as day, Nikolas said, ‘Nope. Daddy’s dead.’ ” His father was dead of a heart attack at age 67.
His mother sued two heart doctors and won a small settlement for her sons a few years later, court records show. She was left to raise Nikolas and his brother alone.
According to his mother, Nikolas wasn’t an easy child. He had been diagnosed with a string of disorders and conditions: depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, emotional behavioral disability and autism, records from the state Department of Children and Families show. His mom told sheriff’s deputies he also had obsessive-compulsive disorder and anger issues. He had counselors in school and at home, according to DCF records, and he took medications.
Nikolas Cruz Mother’s Death
Nikolas’ mother Lynda Cruz was 68 when she died of pneumonia in November 2017. Nikolas had turned 18 a year earlier. Lynda had raised him and his brother both adopted as a single parent for many years after losing her husband when Nikolas was a tot.
Nikolas Cruz High School
Nikolas never graduated high school, though he was still trying at age 19. Foul language, insults, disobedience, disruption of his behavior was exactly what schoolteachers frowned upon.
It was not possible for Cruz to remain at Westglades Middle School in Coral Springs. He left during eighth grade for Cross Creek School in Pompano Beach, which offers a program for emotionally and behaviorally disabled children.
He didn’t want to be there but attended through January in his 10th-grade year.” Nikolas’ personal goal is to [be] mainstreamed to his home high school,” according to a Broward school system report from June 2015, the end of his ninth-grade year. “He often perseverates on the idea that his current school is for students that are ‘not smart’ and that he can now handle being in ‘regular’ school.”
He was conscientious about his grades, the report said. However, Nikolas couldn’t control himself. At a peer’s urging, he jumped out of the back of a bus, the school district report says. He was “punched a number of times” for using racial slurs toward a peer. And more alarming, Nikolas was strongly attracted by guns. And death.
The school reports read that he was very concerned about his grades and how he was doing academically in class,. He would sometimes be distracted by inappropriate conversations of his peers if the topic is about guns, people being killed, or the armed forces. He will also engage in the conversation,” the report says, going on to note that “Nikolas benefits from verbal praise and positive reinforcements.”
Nikolas Cruz Stoneman Douglas High
Less than a year after documenting the student’s morbid preoccupation on Jan. 13, 2016, the school district allowed Cruz to enroll in Stoneman Douglas High.
The A-rated school is one of the best in the school district. However, Nikolas showed signs of trouble almost immediately. In his first month there, he posted on Instagram that he planned to shoot up the school, a neighbor’s son told BSO. |Records say the ominous tip was forwarded to the deputy assigned to the school, Scot Peterson.
Nikolas passed 10th grade there and he hoped to join the military one day and was a member of JROTC. A month into the following school year, though, he seemed to fall apart.
First, he was suspended for fighting. Then, just before his 18th birthday in September, a peer counselor told Deputy Peterson that Cruz might have tried to kill himself by ingesting gasoline, and said he wanted to buy a gun. Five days later, Cruz was reported to the state for cutting his arms on Snapchat, the mobile app.
“Mr. Cruz has fresh cuts on both his arms. Mr. Cruz stated he plans to go out and buy a gun. It is unknown what he is buying the gun for,” the DCF report reads.
He also had “hate signs” — including a Nazi symbol and the words “I hate N——” — drawn on his book bag.
His mother told investigators he’d just had a breakup with a girlfriend.
But Cruz wasn’t fitting in at Stoneman Douglas any better than he had anywhere else in life.
Nikolas Cruz Killings
His attempt to make it at his neighborhood school failed. Shortly in January 2017 after Nikolas inexplicably stopped undergoing mental health treatment, his mother sold the expansive family home in Parkland, and the trio moved into a smaller condo.
At Stoneman Douglas that month he assaulted someone and was ejected soon after. Cruz was transferred to an alternative school on February 8, 2017.
According to the gun store attorney on February, 11 2017 three days after his removal from Stoneman Douglas he bought the AR-15 he used in the mass killing.
For the year which followed the Nikolas attended Broward’s public alternative schools, still trying to get a diploma. At the beginning of his senior year, a commenter named Nikolas wrote on a Mississippi video blogger’s YouTube page: “I’m going to be a professional school shooter.” The blogger alerted the FBI.
When his mother died Cruz was devastated and lost without her, those who know him said. The orphaned brothers Nikolas and Zachary went to live with a former neighbor, Rocxanne Deschamps, in her Lantana mobile home. Nikolas did not stay there for long before he was kicked out.
Deschamps called 911 on November 29 2017 to say Nikolas wasn’t welcome back, and a shaken Nikolas called 911 to say her son threatened to “gut” him if he returned.
Deschamps told the dispatcher she’d taken the boys on errands, including stopping by the funeral home. Nikolas wanted to be dropped off at a friend’s in Parkland. When she said no, he threw a tantrum, she told the dispatcher. He punched walls at her home and threw things. When Deschamps’ 22-year-old son intervened, Cruz punched him in the face, she said.
Nikolas put the gun to the head of someone before and he did that to his mom,” she told the dispatcher. She said that Nikolas also had once put a gun to his brother’s head.
Nikolas placed his own call to 911. “I was just assaulted now. Someone attacked me,” he said when he called from a nearby park he ran to that day. “And they said they were going to gut me if I came back.” Nikolas told deputies that he’d gotten upset when he misplaced a photograph of his late mother.
“The thing is, I lost my mother a couple weeks ago,” he said, “so, like, I’m dealing with a bunch of things right now.” Nikolas sounded like he might be crying. “I understand,” the dispatcher said gently. The next day, a caller from Massachusetts told police that Nikolas was collecting guns and knives and could be a “school shooter in the making.”
The Sneads, whose son was friendly with Nikolas, said that he followed their rules and kept his weapons locked up. They insisted he enlist in classes, and he had a job at Dollar Tree, the company confirmed.
Nikolas seemed emotionally down for the few months they knew him. But in the last two weeks before the shooting, he told them he was happier than he’d ever been before, the Sneads told the Sun-Sentinel.
“He wanted a girlfriend so bad,” Kimberly Snead said, “and I said, ‘Girls are trouble, stay away from them. It’s not worth it right now. You focus on getting yourself doing something in life.’ ” “I think he was lonely,” James Snead said.
He wore torn clothes; he carried a lot of cash; and though he didn’t seem overtly religious, he had a gold cross in his gun cabinet, they said. He was loving toward Lenny and Harley Quinn, the family dogs, and the six cats.
A caller told the FBI on January 5 2018 that she wanted to get her fears about Cruz’s potential for violence off her chest.
“I want to kill people,” she said he wrote on one of his Instagram social media accounts. She said he’d once pulled a rifle on his mother. “It’s alarming to see these pictures,” she told the FBI, “and to know what he’s capable of doing, and what could happen.” On Feb. 14 the day of the shooting Nikolas told the Sneads he’d be skipping school.
“It’s Valentine’s Day, and I don’t go to school on Valentine’s Day,” the Sneads said he told them. At 2:06 p.m, Nikolas caught an Uber to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, arriving when school was letting out.He left the high school a mess of bodies and terrorized children. In court five days later, Cruz sat with his head bowed. No friends or family appeared in court on his behalf.
, faces the death penalty if convicted of killing 17 people and wounding 17 others in the attack. He has offered to plead not guilty in return for a life sentence, but prosecutors have refused that offer. Peterson, the only armed officer at the school the day of the attack, was seen on video .