Florida, US | July 10
A commission investigating the Florida high school massacre heard Tuesday the suspect’s late mother allowed him to buy a gun even though his mental health counselors opposed the idea and agreed that a diversion program for students who commit minor on-campus crimes played no part in the shooting.
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, chairman of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission, told members that Lynda Cruz was “an enabler” who interfered with efforts to get her son Nikolas Cruz treatment.
“If he wants to have a gun, he could have a gun,” Gualtieri said Lynda Cruz told his counselors. Lynda Cruz died in November of pneumonia, three months before investigators say her 19-yearold son killed 17 at the school on Valentine’s Day, shooting throughout a three-story classroom building with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. His father died when he was young.
Gualtieri told members that school and mental health counselors had at least 140 contacts with Nikolas Cruz over the years trying to get him help, but his mother frequently interfered. He did not go into specifics. Similar complaints were made about the mother of Adam Lanza, who killed 26 at a Connecticut elementary school in 2012 after killing her. Nancy Lanza bought guns for her 20-year-old son despite his severe emotional issues.
The commission is scheduled to discuss his mental health treatment in a closed session Thursday as those records are protected by federal and state law.
School and government records obtained by The Associated Press and other media shortly after the shooting show Nikolas Cruz was diagnosed as developmentally delayed at age 3 and had disciplinary issues dating to middle school. In February 2014, while in eighth grade, Nikolas Cruz was transferred to a school for children with emotional and behavioral issues. He stayed until 10th grade, when he was transferred to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.