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Florida shooting: Donald Trump under fire for reaction to atrocity that killed 17

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– The President has responded to the high school shooting that left 17 dead
– Nikolas Cruz charged with 17 counts of murder
– Suspect
‘set off fire alarm’ to entice students out of classrooms
– Gunman was ‘wearing a gas mask and carrying smoke grenades’
– Fellow high schoolstudent ‘used to joke that Cruz would shoot up the school’
– Cruz, 19, reportedly ‘crazy about guns’ and posted on Instagram about killing animals

Donald Trump has been criticised for his reaction to the mass shooting at a Florida high school, after failing to mention gun control.

The president told his country’s school children: ‘You are never alone’.

He made no mention of the US’s gun laws.

Earlier today a survivor of the shooting hit out at Trump, calling him a ‘f***ing piece of s***.’

She said: ‘Do something instead of sending prayers. Prayers won’t fix this. But control will prevent it from happening again.’

Troubled ‘loner’ teenager Nikolas Cruz has been charged with murder after the gun rampage in Florida which left 17 dead.

Police in Florida released this mugshot image of Nikolas Cruz after he was charged with 17 counts of murder.
Police in Florida released this mugshot image of Nikolas Cruz after he was charged with 17 counts of murder.

Cruz, 19, a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, was expelled from the Florida school for ‘disciplinary reasons’.

He posted disturbing Instagram pictures brandishing guns and knives in the run-up to the atrocity.

Broward County Police released a mugshot image of the ‘gun crazy’ teenager after he was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder on Thursday.

Cameras capture the moment teen suspect Nikolas Cruz, 19, is arrested after the deadly shooting in Florida.
Cameras capture the moment teen suspect Nikolas Cruz, 19, is arrested after the deadly shooting in Florida.

Orphaned Cruz, reportedly wearing a gas mask and armed with smoke grenades and an assault rifle, is thought to have set off a smoke alarm to lure pupils into a hall.

He then opened fire with an AR-15 rifle, killing three people outside the school then entering the building and slaughtering a further 12. Two more students died after being taken to hospital.

Authorities offered no immediate details about Cruz or his possible motive, except to say that he had been kicked out of the high school, which has about 3,000 students.

Students who knew him described a volatile teenager whose strange behaviour had caused others to end friendships with him.

Disturbing images on Nikolas Cruz’s Instagram account, which has since been deleted, showed him posing with firearms and knives.
Disturbing images on Nikolas Cruz’s Instagram account, which has since been deleted, showed him posing with firearms and knives.
Shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz is restrained on the ground after being arrested by police outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz is restrained on the ground after being arrested by police outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Fellow students joked that Cruz would ‘shoot up the school’

A student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas told reporters that students pupils used to joke that Cruz would one day ‘shoot up the school.

‘We were kind of saying that it would be him,’ he said. ‘Everyone predicted it.’

Victoria Olvera, a 17-year-old junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, said Cruz was expelled last school year after a fight with his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend. She said Cruz had been abusive to his former partner.

Deadliest mass shootings in modern US history
Deadliest mass shootings in modern US history

Chad Williams, 18, spoke to the press on the side of the road near the school: ‘He was crazy about guns,’ he told Reuters.

‘He was kind of an outcast. He didn’t have many friends. He would do anything crazy for a laugh, but he was trouble.’

Daniel Huerfano, a student who fled the attack, said he recognised Cruz from an Instagram photo in which Cruz posed with a gun in front of his face.

Shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz is hauled away by police in Florida minutes after the shooting. (WSVN 7 News)
Shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz is hauled away by police in Florida minutes after the shooting. (WSVN 7 News)

‘He was that weird kid that you see, like a loner,’ he said.

Dakota Mutchler, a 17-year-old junior, said he used to be close friends with Cruz but had not seen him in more than a year following his expulsion from school.

‘He started progressively getting a little more weird,’ he said.

‘Disturbing’ social media posts

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said that some of Cruz’s social media activity uncovered so far was ‘very disturbing’.

An Instagram account linked to Cruz showed him brandishing guns and knives, while other posts boasted about killings animals with a pellet gun.

‘We have already begin to dissect his websites and some of the social media he was on’, Mr Israel said.

‘Some of the things that have come to mind are very, very disturbing.’

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An Instagram account purportedly belonging to the suspect, now deleted, was littered with pictures of weapons and disturbing captions claiming calling shooting ‘group therapy’ and talking about purchasing firearms.

Former classmates said that the account did indeed belong to Cruz.

The account showed selfies thought to be of the suspect posing in all black outfits and wearing a balaclava.

One student recalled Cruz posting on Instagram about killing animals and said he had talked about target practice in his backyard with a pellet gun.

Medical personnel tend to a victim following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. (John McCall/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)
Medical personnel tend to a victim following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. (John McCall/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

‘Potential threat’ to students

A teacher told the Miami Herald that Cruz may have been identified as a potential threat to other students.

Jim Gard, a maths teacher who said Cruz was in his class last year, said he believes the school had sent out an email warning teachers that Cruz should not be allowed on campus with a backpack.

“There were problems with him last year threatening students, and I guess he was asked to leave campus,” Mr Gard said.

Cruz’s background

The suspect was adopted as a baby, according to ABC News, and his parents are both dead. His adoptive mother Lynda Cruz died in November last year. His adoptive father Roger Cruz dies of a heart attack several years ago.

After the death of his parents Cruz moved in with a family friend, but was unhappy living there and went to live with a friend and his family. They have not been named.

Broward County Mayor Beam Furr said Cruz had treatment at a mental health clinic for a while, but had not been in treatment for more than a year.

‘It wasn’t like there wasn’t concern for him,’ Mr Furr said.

‘We try to keep our eyes out on those kids who aren’t connected. Most teachers try to steer them toward some kind of connections. In this case, we didn’t find a way to connect with this kid.’

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