The Apache Pow Wow

Parkland, Florida School Shooting

Kevin Trejos

Kevin Trejos

Nathan Guo, Staff Writer

On Wednesday, Feb. 14, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz opened fire on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 in total with a semi-automatic assault rifle.

Cruz arrived at the school via an Uber vehicle, with his gun in a case and extra ammunition in his backpack. He was inconspicuous at first, dressed in school colors and sporting a polo that even had the school’s logo on the chest. Cruz walked briskly to the school’s freshman “1200 building”, three stories tall and with little means of escape. He opened fire once inside and within the next five minutes, 17 lay slain on the ground.

Afterwards, he dropped his bulletproof vest and rifle and blended in amongst the frenzied students. From there, he headed to a nearby Walmart and bought a drink at a nearby Subway. Cruz final destination was a McDonalds, where he was apprehended as he walked out, without struggle.

A day later on Feb. 15, Cruz confessed in court, as well as provided some additional details about his plot.

It was quickly discovered that Cruz had a history of mental instability and an unhealthy obsession with weaponry. An orphan at an early age, Cruz was adopted by Lynda and Roger Cruz, a caring couple that provided everything Nikolas and his younger brother could need in the affluent city of Parkland.

When his father died, however, Cruz’s behavior took a turn for the worst. Alongside his brother, he would torment the neighborhood and wreak havoc on its residents. Reportedly, he would kill squirrels with a pellet gun, pick fights with other kids, and vandalize property. He trained his two dogs to be weapons instead of pets, encouraging them to kill animals his neighbors owned, including piglets and chickens.

It was in Cruz’s high school years, after the death of his mother, that his infatuation with weaponry came to bloom. According to former classmates, all he would talk about was guns, hunting, and murder. He would frequently post instagram photos of the gun collection he had and the animals he maimed. Allegedly, he even sold knives out his lunchbox, going so far as to openly ask other students if they wanted to purchase them.

During his time in high school, Cruz was evidently not a very amicable person. He often fought with other students and threatened them via text. According to Cruz’s ex girlfriend, after their breakup, Cruz sent menacing text messages to both her and her new boyfriend. Incidents such and like this one garnered him a reputation as a mentally unstable teen. And it was this reputation that got him expelled.

All this should have set off multiple red flags on the danger surrounding Nikolas Cruz. Yet, no action was taken. In fact, the FBI was warned 17 times on Cruz’s suspicious behavior. The FBI also found a YouTube comment allegedly written by Cruz as well that read, “I am going to become a professional school shooter”. Furthermore, the faculty of Marjory Stoneman Douglas was warned of Cruz as well, as the administration left a note to watch out for Cruz’s behavior. No precautions were made and no warnings were heeded, so as a result, 17 people perished because of the FBI’s negligence.

Of the 17 victims, 14 were students and 3 were faculty members. Vigils across Parkland and the rest of the U.S. have been held remembering those who lost their lives that day. Many have spoken out on social media, honoring the heroic efforts of the teachers and students who sacrificed themselves to save others. What happened on Valentine’s Day this year will serve as an unforgettable memory in the hearts of Americans everywhere.

Photo courtesy of Kevin Trejos

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Parkland, Florida School Shooting