President Trump appeared to suggest that the “neighbors and classmates” of Florida school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz who “knew he was a big problem” because of his “erratic behavior” were somehow to blame for not reporting “such instances to authorities, again and again.”
Trump on Thursday also suggested mental illness played a role in Wednesday’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., that left 17 dead and wounding many others.
“So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior,” Trump tweeted about 19-year-old suspect Nikolas Cruz.
“Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!”
So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 15, 2018
The Miami Herald reported that the suspect had been expelled from school and had been flagged as a potential threat.
According to the Herald, Cruz was kicked out of school after bringing ammunition with him in his backpack and spoke frequently about guns and knives. He had no prior arrests.
Cruz “threatened to bring the guns to school multiple times,” senior Eddie Bonilla said. Other students, he said, “threw jokes around that he’d be the one to shoot up the school.”
Student Victoria Olvera, 17, said Cruz had been abusive to his ex-girlfriend and that his expulsion was over a fight with her new boyfriend, reports The Boston Globe.
According to Buzzfeed, FBI officials were alerted last September to a school shooting threat left on YouTube by a person named Nikolas Cruz — the name of the Florida high school shooting suspect.
A YouTuber named Ben Bennight contacted the FBI’s tip account last September and sent a screenshot of a comment Nikolas Cruz left on one of his videos that said: “Im [sic] going to be a professional school shooter.”
Bennight told Buzzfeed that agents responded “immediately” and interviewed him.
“They came to my office the next morning and asked me if I knew anything about the person,” Bennight added.
“I didn’t. They took a copy of the screenshot and that was the last I heard from them.”
Trump on Wednesday offered his prayers and condolences to the victims’ families, saying “no child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school.”
My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting. No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 14, 2018