Parkland, Florida – As new information surfaces surrounding the mass shooting that killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last week, it is becoming even more apparent that law enforcement blatantly ignored a number of warning signs about the suspected gunman, which included 20 calls to police detailing death threats and violent behavior.
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel admitted that there were at least "20 calls for services in the last few years" regarding Nikolas Cruz, who is now accused of entering the school he was expelled from and opening fire on his former classmates and teachers. Israel said that given the latest allegations against Cruz, the department now plans to review the reports they have received in the past.
“Every one of these calls for service will be looked at and scrutinized,” Israel said. “If we find out that one of our deputies or call takers could have done something better, or was remiss, I’ll handle it accordingly.”
Given the fact that Cruz was expelled from the school, his presence there should have served as a major red flag, and Israel claimed that as soon as the school’s security guards noticed Cruz was on campus, they “tried to contact him.”
“The school certainly knew about him, our school resource deputies knew about him,” Israel said. “As soon as he came onto to the campus, I understand that the security guards tried to contact him. I’m not going to go into any more of that know because we’re trying to look at videos and piece that together.”
However, Israel did not explain why the guards were not able to apprehend Cruz before he reportedly opened fire inside multiple classrooms. The sheriff also did not address how police responded to the 20 calls they received about Cruz’s violent behavior and apparent death threats.
Multiple students are now speaking out and saying that they received death threats from Cruz, which they reported to the school. Enea Sabadini, a former classmate, told Buzzfeed that he began receiving messages from Cruz on Instagram saying things such as "iam going to shoot you dead” and “Im going to watch ypu bleed," after he started dating Cruz’s ex-girlfriend last year.
Another former classmate, Connor Dietrich, told the New York Post that Cruz was obsessed with his girlfriend and after she broke up with him, he became wildly jealous and began stalking bother her and her new boyfriend.
“The reason he got expelled was because he was fighting with his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend,” Dietrich said. “He stalked her and threatened her. He was like, ‘I’m going to kill you,’ and he would say awful things to her and harass her to the point I would walk her to the bus just to make sure she was OK. We all made sure she was never alone.”
Dana Craig said she was friends with Cruz’s girlfriend and she was one of the people who encouraged her to break up with him after she heard stories of his abusive behavior. She told Buzzfeed that Cruz began targeting her in April 2016 when he heard the advice she gave about his relationship.
“I’m going to get you and I’m going to kill you because you took this person away from me. I’m going to kill your family,” Craig recalled the messages saying. She noted that they were sent from the girlfriend’s Instagram account, which Cruz had access to.
Craig said she also reported Cruz’s behavior, which means that there were at least two students who reported the death threats they received from a fellow classmate whose Instagram account featured photos of him brandishing guns, knives and showing off small animals he had murdered.
In response to the shooting, former classmates said they were not surprised to learn that Cruz was the suspect and as Joshua Charo told the Miami Herald, “I can’t say I was shocked. From past experiences, he seemed like the kind of kid who would do something like this.”
Not only did the local police department fail to address legitimate concerns from students who saw Cruz on a daily basis and received death threats from him online, but the FBI also failed to act when it received at least two credible tips about Cruz’s plans to carry out a mass shooting.
As The Free Thought has reported, in addition to the messages Cruz sent to his fellow students, he also posted comments on YouTube videos in the months leading up to the shooting, saying things such as “I am going to kill law enforcement one day,” and “I’m going to be a professional school shooter.”