Facts about Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old Florida man who allegedly shot up Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, ending the lives of 17 human beings, have started to emerge.
According to the Miami Herald, Cruz was a deeply troubled young man with few friends and such an obsession with weapons that his school banned him from wearing a backpack. He "preened with guns and knives on social media, bragged about shooting rats with his BB gun, and got kicked out of school—in part because he had brought bullets in his backpack," the Herald writes.
“All he would talk about is guns, knives and hunting,” a former classmate told the paper. “I can’t say I was shocked. From past experiences, he seemed like the kind of kid who would do something like this.”
Cruz's Instagram account, which has since been removed, showcased images of guns, bullets, knives and what appears to be himself wearing a MAGA hat. According to Douglas High students, he also wore the hat to school.
President Trump, meanwhile, issued a "Presidential Proclamation Honoring the Victims of the Tragedy in Parkland, Florida," and ordered that the flag on all public and federal grounds to be flown at half-mast. Because the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is to do absolutely nothing.
UPDATE: An earlier version of this post included claims made by the Anti-Defamation League (ADF) that Cruz was a member of the a white nationalist militia called the Republic of Florida (ROF). The ADL spoke to Jorden Jereb, an ROF member who claimed that Cruz had trained with the group. According to the Los Angeles Times, Jereb now says he was mistaken and Cruz was not a member of the ROF. "There was a legit misunderstanding because we have MULTIPLE people named Nicholas in ROF," he reportedly said on Twitter. Jereb's Twitter account is currently suspended.