THE family who took in Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz have spoken of how ‘we had this monster living under our roof and we didn’t know’.
THE family who took in Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz have spoken of how ‘we had this monster living under our roof and we didn’t know’.

School shooter’s brother ‘in psych facility’

THE younger brother of deranged school shooter Nikolas Cruz was committed to a mental health facility, according to reports.

The New York Post reports, authorities removed someone Friday from the home of Roxanne Deschamps, a longtime family friend of the Cruz brothers who took them in after their adoptive mother died of pneumonia in November, The Palm Beach Post reported.

A friend of Deschamps confirmed Zachary Cruz, who turns 18 next week, was the person removed from the home.

The younger Cruz brother was involuntarily committed under Florida's Baker Act, under which he can be held involuntarily for up to 12 hours for an involuntary psychiatric exam.

It's unclear if he's been released.

Nikolas Cruz’s police mugshot. Picture: Supplied
Nikolas Cruz’s police mugshot. Picture: Supplied

Nikolas Cruz left Deschamps' Lantana mobile home around Thanksgiving after he and Deschamps squared off over a gun.

"He bought a gun and wanted to bring it into my house," she said in comments that have since been wiped from her Facebook page, the paper reported.

Chad Bennett, a family friend, said Deschamps gave Cruz an ultimatum and Cruz "chose the gun and he left."

He moved in with family in northern Broward county, a Cruz family lawyer told the newspaper.

The Palm Beach Post said it was not known if the gun Cruz brought to the Deschamps home was the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle Cruz used to kill 17 people in Wednesday's mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL.

That development comes as the family who took in Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz have spoken of how "we had this monster living under our roof and we didn't know" as they reveal the last words they spoke to the teenager who killed 17 students.

 

In an interview with the South Florida Sun Sentinel, James and Kimberley Snead, who took Cruz into their home three months ago at the request of their son said the teenage killer was immature and depressed but appeared to be getting happier.

They said they had no idea how he turned into a mass killer.

"We had this monster living under our roof and we didn't know," Mrs Snead told the newspaper.

"We didn't see this side of him."

Her husband added: "Everything everybody seems to know, we didn't know. "It's as simple as that."

Cruz was living with the Sneads when he walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School around 6.30am (AEDT) on Thursday and shot 17 people dead with his AR-15 assault rifle.

Cruz's adoptive mother, his only living parent, died of pneumonia on November 1. He stayed for a short time with a family friend nearby before moving into the Sneads.

They soon realised he was depressed over the death of his mother.

The Sneads account of the lead-up to the mass shooting comes as a teenager who survived the attack slammed US President Donald Trump over his ties to the powerful National Rifle Association, as several thousand rallied in Florida to demand urgent action on gun control.

People protest against the National Rifle Association at the Broward County Court House during the first appearance in court via video link for high school shooter Nikolas Cruz February. Picture: AFP
People protest against the National Rifle Association at the Broward County Court House during the first appearance in court via video link for high school shooter Nikolas Cruz February. Picture: AFP

Three days after Cruz's attack, 18-year-old Emma Gonzalez delivered a fiery address to a crowd of students, parents and residents in nearby Ft. Lauderdale.

"To every politician taking donations from the NRA, shame on you!" she thundered, assailing Trump over the multimillion-dollar support his campaign received from the gun lobby.

The crowd chanted in turn: "Shame on you!"

Mourners during a candlelight vigil for the victims of the mass shooting. Picture: AFP
Mourners during a candlelight vigil for the victims of the mass shooting. Picture: AFP


"We are going to be the last mass shooting ... We are going to change the law," she vowed - slamming the fact 19-year-old gunman Nikolas Cruz was able to legally buy a semiautomatic firearm despite a history of troubling and violent behaviour.

"The question on whether or not people should be allowed to own an automatic weapon is not a political one. It is question of life or death and it needs to stop being a question of politics," Gonzalez told AFP following her speech.

Emma Gonzalez speaks at a rally for gun control at the Broward County Federal Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale. Picture: AFP
Emma Gonzalez speaks at a rally for gun control at the Broward County Federal Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale. Picture: AFP

FLORIDA SCHOOL SHOOTER WAS 'VERY NAIVE'

Cruz had been seeing a therapist Mrs Snead said but didn't want to take medication.

They said he was an obedient houseguest who they allowed to keep guns. Cruz had a number of guns they required him to keep in a locked gun safe.

Mr Snead thought he had the only key but has since discovered Cruz had one of his own.

The couple said Cruz had been smothered as a child, that he didn't know how to cook, didn't know how to wash his clothes and that they had to teach him to use a microwave.

"He was very naive. He wasn't dumb, just naive," Mr Snead said.

Their lawyer Jim Lewis defended the couple.

"What else could this family have possibly done to put this young man on the right track?" Jim Lewis told the Sun Sentinel.

Cruz appears at Broward County Court House in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Picture: AFP
Cruz appears at Broward County Court House in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Picture: AFP

"They tried to do a good deed and it went horribly wrong for them."

Meanwhile, President Trump has attacked the FBI over the school shooting indicating that the probe into possible Russian interference in the 2016 election could have affected the agency's ability to investigate killer Nikolas Cruz prior to the attack.

The FBI received a tip last month that the suspect in the Florida school shooting had a "desire to kill" and access to guns and could be plotting an attack.

But the agency said Friday that agents failed to investigate.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has called on FBI Director Christopher Wray to resign. Trump has been a frequent critic of the FBI, accusing it of partisan bias.

Mourners during a candlelight vigil for the victims of the mass shooting. Picture: AFP
Mourners during a candlelight vigil for the victims of the mass shooting. Picture: AFP

'FAMILY''S LAST WORDS

According to the Sneads, Cruz texted their son in the lead-up to the attack asking what classroom he was in.

The Sneads heard of the shooting from their son, who was not named, and it dawned on them that Cruz was responsible for the attack after police raided their house.

The Sneads were reunited with their son at Broward Sheriff's headquarters after he had been questioned by police and free after they realised he was not involved in the shooting.

As they waited with police, a handcuffed Cruz was led into the building.

Mrs Snead said she tried to run toward him.

"Really, Nik? Really?" she said she yelled at him.

"He said he was sorry. He apologised. He looked lost, absolutely lost," Mr Snead said.

"And that was the last time we saw him."

 

Parts of this article originally appeared in the New York Post and are republished here with permission.



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