Here are five things to know about Nikolas Jacob Cruz, the suspect in Wednesday’s murder of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, the third largest school shooting in United States history.
▪ Cruz and his brother were adopted shortly after Nikolas’ August 1998 birth by Lynda Cruz and Roger Cruz of Parkland. Roger Cruz died in 2004, a month before Nikolas’ 6th birthday. Lynda Cruz died Nov. 1.
▪ As a freshman, Cruz was part of the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC). One of the initial descriptions of him on the police scanner Wednesday said he wore a JROTC shirt.
▪ He had no prior arrests, but had been expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High. One student said Cruz brought bullets in a backpack.
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▪ He legally bought an AR-15, the automatic weapon used Wednesday, at a Broward County gun shop in February. With no criminal record, Cruz cleared an instant background check via the FBI criminal database.
▪ He recently worked at a Dollar General store while going to school to finish his high school diploma.