PARKLAND — New details continue to emerge about Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old alleged mass shooter charged with killing 14 students and 3 teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last month. The latest revelation is that Nikolas 0Cruz’s adoptive mother, Lynda Cruz, actually considered giving up her parental rights out of frustration at her son’s constant behavioral problems.
Lynda’s difficulties are just another of the warning signs that seem so clear after the fact. Nikolas’s issues were such that he received care at a mental health clinic for a time, and students who knew him were noticeably unsurprised at the path the troubled teen took.
“I think everyone had in their minds if anybody was going to do it, it was going to be him,” 17-year-old Victoria Olvera said of Nikolas’s arrest for the shooting. She was one of several peers of the mass murderer to express such sentiments.
More to the point, Lynda Cruz made literally dozens of phone calls to the authorities about her son’s troubling behavior in the years prior to the massacre.
Lynda Cruz died of pneumonia in November of last year.
“The past few months she was scared,” said a source close to the family. “I think that’s what killed her.”
Lynda also struggled with her other adopted son, Zachary Cruz, and worked with therapists to rein in both children, but to no avail. It was at one particularly low point that she gave serious consideration to relinquishing her parental rights.
“I don’t think she would have done it,” the source stated. “She loved the boys more than anything in the world. She was just fed up with not getting anywhere, tired of how she was being treated and she was saying, ‘Why am I doing this to myself?’”
In one particularly disturbing incident, Nikolas—clad in a military uniform—approached Lynda with an air gun and demanded, “Drop to your knees, bitch, I’m going to blow your fucking brains out.”
Although Nikolas later downplayed and apologized for the troubling episode, it stayed with Lynda.
“He thinks he’s fucking ISIS,” she said at the time.
Adding to Nikolas’s challenges was a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder at the age of 10, as well as ADHD and depression soon after. He routinely went into rages and punched holes in walls and threw objects in the home (sometimes at his mother), and was even seen cutting himself on Snapchat in the aftermath of a break-up.
Although police and associated therapists responded to Nikolas’s varied outbursts, the young man never received a felony conviction and was never held for mental illness, either of which would have been noted in background checks for firearm purchases.
The many calls to police from the home were categorized in such ways as “mentally ill person,” “domestic disturbance” and “child/elderly abuse,” leading one to wonder how any sort of sane system could portion out firearms to someone with literally dozens of such episodes in his recent past.
Nikolas was charged on Wednesday with 17 counts of attempted murder and 17 counts of premeditated murder.