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23 Feb, 2018 22:49

History of violence: Sheriff releases calls about Florida school shooter

History of violence: Sheriff releases calls about Florida school shooter

Police have released 23 calls made to the home of attacker Nikolas Cruz, in a bid to deflect criticism over handling the Parkland, Florida school shooting. The final call, however, shows serious concerns were not acted on.

Last week, Cruz shot dead 17 of his former classmates and teachers in his assault rifle rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The Broward County Sheriff’s Office published a document on Friday listing all the service calls to Cruz’s home going back to 2008, when he was just nine years-old.

“In the interest of full transparency, we are making available the list of all 23 calls for service at the Cruz home,” the sheriff’s office said. “18 involved Nikolas Cruz. None appeared arrestable under Florida law. However, two of the calls remain under internal investigation.”

The most serious warning came in November 2017, when a caller located in Massachusetts advised that Cruz was collecting knives and was likely to conduct a school shooting. The caller was concerned Cruz would kill himself and “be a school shooter in the making.” They believed that Cruz’s weapons were kept at a friend's house.

The incident was categorized as ‘suspicious’ by Broward County Police but no report was initiated, according to the document. That call is now under Internal Affairs review and investigation, the document shows.

The first incident, in August 2008, involved a boy throwing a rock at Cruz, who responded in kind. Three years later, in 2011, deputies were called to two incidents of violent or threatening behavior towards his mother. Linda Cruz said the first was perpetrated by Nikolas but did not say if he or his brother Zachary were to blame for the second incident.

In two more reported incidents in 2012, Nikolas fought with Zachary and hit his mother with a plastic vacuum cleaner hose. In 2013, Linda told police Nikolas threw her against a wall because she confiscated his Xbox games console. The following year, he punched the wall after she took away the Xbox again.

Later, in 2014, a neighbor reported Nikolas had shot at his chickens with an airsoft rifle, a replica of a real gun that shoots plastic pellets.

Another ‘suspicious incident’ was recorded in 2016, with third-hand information derived from Instagram that Cruz was going to “shoot up a school.” The Instagram post involved a picture of guns.

On Thursday, Sheriff Scott Israel revealed that the armed deputy assigned to the school had stood outside the building and did not confront the attacker. Deputy Scott Peterson chose to resign over his failure.

Three other Broward County deputies who arrived at the scene also took up positions outside the building, CNN reported on Friday citing sources in the Coral Springs Police Department.

The FBI has separately launched a review of its investigation regarding a tip-off about Cruz based on a YouTube comment. Florida Governor Rick Scott has demanded that FBI Director Christopher Wray resign, after the agency admitted it failed to process a detailed tip-off to its Miami field office.

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