Report: Police Were Warned Florida School Shooter Had Threatened People with A Gun Before

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Posted: Feb 22, 2018 2:40 PM
Report: Police Were Warned Florida School Shooter Had Threatened People with A Gun Before

Nikolas Cruz, the teenager who killed 17 at his former high school last week, had threatened people with a gun before, according to records obtained by CNN.

CNN reported Thursday that “the host family who had taken him in immediately after his mother's death warned local law enforcement that the 19-year-old had ‘used a gun against people before’ and ‘has put the gun to others' heads in the past.’"

A former neighbor, Rocxanne Deschamps, took in Nikolas Cruz initially after the death of his adoptive mother. Local law enforcement then became involved in several incidents at that home.

Deschamps' son, Rock, 22, called 911 to report that an "adopted 19-year-old son" had possibly hidden a "gun in the backyard," according to a dispatcher's notes. Rock Deschamps told law enforcement "there were no weapons allowed in the household," the report said. It's unclear from the record whether sheriff's deputies conducted a search. The incident was classified as "domestic unfounded," which means a deputy didn't find proof to back up the claims.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office was called again to the home four days later, when Rock said Cruz lashed out against the family that took him in, according to the Palm Beach deputy's report and dispatcher notes. The deputy went to a local park and found Cruz, who explained that he had misplaced a photo of his recently deceased mother and, emotionally distraught, began punching the wall. Cruz lost control the same way he had several times in the past at his mother's home in Parkland, Florida, when he had not taken his prescribed mood-altering medication, as CNN has previously reported based on Broward police documents. 

Rock interrupted Cruz and a fight broke out between them, according to the documents. Cruz left the home, and Rocxanne Deschamps called 911. She warned the police dispatcher that Cruz said "he was going to get his gun and come back," records show. She said Cruz had "bought a gun from Dick's last week and is now going to pick it up."

Rocxanne Deschamps told the dispatcher that Cruz had "bought tons of ammo" and "has used a gun against ppl before," the notes said. "He has put the gun to others heads in the past."

The Palm Beach sheriff's deputy who responded to the scene of the assault spoke to both young men, who "hugged and reconcile(d) their differences." Cruz "said he was sorry for losing his temper," the deputy wrote in his report. Rock Deschamps told the deputy that Cruz had been suffering significantly from the loss of his mother and that he didn't want him to go to jail, only to leave the house until he calmed down. He signed a form saying he refused to prosecute.

This report is just the latest in a series of missed warning signs prior to this horrific tragedy.

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The FBI admitted Friday that it did not follow "protocols" in responding to an anonymous tip, expressing concerns over Cruz potentially conducting a school shooting. 

"Under established protocols, the information provided by the caller should have been assessed as a potential threat to life," the FBI said in a statement.

In addition to receiving an anonymous tip about the shooter, the FBI had been alerted to a YouTube comment in September by a user named Nikolas Cruz saying he would be a “professional school shooter.”

There were also investigations by the sheriff’s department and the Department of Child and Family Services after Cruz cut his arms on Snapchat and said he wanted to buy a gun.