Who Is Nikolas Cruz? Parkland, Florida, High School Shooting Suspect Identified

Jessica Kwong
Who Is Nikolas Cruz? Parkland, Florida, High School Shooting Suspect Identified

Update | The suspect in Wednesday's shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, has been identified by reports as Nikolas Cruz. 

Cruz, a 19-year-old former student at the high school, was detained by police and taken to Broward Health North hospital in Pompano Beach briefly before being transferred to the Broward Sheriff's headquarters, the Miami Herald reported. 

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At least 17 people died in the massacre, deputies said.

Cruz had been expelled from the high school for “disciplinary reasons,” Broward Sheriff Scott Israel told the newspaper on Wednesday night. He said investigators scoured social media sites the shooter may have visited and that some unverified images pictured a man purporting to be Cruz brandishing guns and knives.

“Our investigators began dissecting social media,” Israel said. “Some of [the] thing[s] that come to mind are very, very disturbing.”

According to a former math teacher of Cruz at the school, he had been previously identified as a security threat and had been informed last year that he wouldn't be allowed on campus with a backpack.

“We were told last year that he wasn’t allowed on campus with a backpack on him,” Jim Gard told the Herald. “There were problems with him last year threatening students, and I guess he was asked to leave campus.”

Following the shooting, a male in a maroon shirt was shown being apprehended by police off campus. He was later picked up by an ambulance and transported to the hospital. Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said that the suspect, who had been taken into custody, was not a current student, but they believed he had at one time attended the high school.

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The Broward Sheriff stated that gunshot victims were being transferred to Broward Health Medical Center and Broward Health North Hospital.

Reports suggest that the shooting began shortly before students were dismissed for the day. The Broward Sheriff’s Office tweeted at 2:53 p.m. about an “active shooter” situation at 5901 Pine Island Road in Parkland and that deputies were responding amid “reports of victims.”


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School board officials said students and staff heard what sounded like gunfire shortly before classes were dismissed and that the campus went on lockdown right away, NBC 6 South Florida reported.

Police issued a "be on the lookout" warning for a white male dressed in a burgundy shirt, the TV station reported at 3:24 p.m.

The high school has 3,208 students, grades nine through 12, according to local news outlets.

Following the shooting, President Donald Trump tweeted an offering of prayers and condolences to the victims of the shooting, adding that "no child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school."

The president went on to say that he had spoken to Florida Governor Rick Scott and was working closely with local law enforcement.

This story has been updated with more information on Cruz and the number of reported deaths.  

This article was first written by Newsweek

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