The couple who took in school massacre suspect Nikolas Cruz months before last week’s Florida shooting said they had a “monster living under our roof” but saw no warning signs the night before the bloodbath — despite the 19-year-old’s history of trouble in school, reports said.
In an interview with the Sun-Sentinel on Saturday, James and Kimberly Snead said they never saw the violent side of Cruz, but recognized that the 19-year-old was depressed about his mother, who died in November. The couple had opened their home to Cruz, who was staying with a family friend, at their son’s request.
“We had this monster living under our roof and we didn’t know,” Kimberly Snead, 49, said. “We didn’t see this side of him.”
James Snead, 48, added that he and his wife didn’t know what “everything, everybody seems to know.”
“Everything everybody seems to know, we didn’t know,” Snead said. “It’s as simple as that.”
A series of reports have emerged since the deadly shooting last Wednesday, including Cruz’s history of violent threats and trouble in school. Cruz was suspended for one day in January 2017 after assaulting someone, according to disciplinary records obtained by the Sun-Sentinel. Four months earlier, he got into a fight and was suspended.
Florida’s Department of Children and Families also received a report that Cruz was cutting his arms in Snapchat videos.
When Nikolas Cruz was a student at Westglades Middle School, he was constantly in trouble for insulting teachers and staff, using profanity, disruptive behavior, unexcused absences and at least one fight.
His mother was called in more than a dozen times for conferences and Cruz was frequently sent to counseling, according to the records.
Kimberly Snead said she took Cruz to a therapist she was seeing five days before the 19-year-old allegedly opened fire inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, killing 17 people. She recalled Cruz saying he didn’t like medication, but was open to seeing a therapist.
When it came to Cruz’s guns, the Sneads made him lock them in a safe. Kimberly Snead said she thought she had the only keys to the safe, but believes Cruz made a copy for himself that the couple didn’t know about. The couple noted how Cruz seemed lonely, but didn’t hear rumors about an ex-girlfriend or witness any form of animal cruelty. James Snead called the 19-year-old “naïve” and someone who seemed to be spoiled by his mother before her death.
Kimberly Snead said she didn’t see anything strange in the hours leading up to the deadly shooting. Cruz went to sleep around 8 p.m., woke up and told Snead he didn’t need a ride to school because he didn’t go on Valentine’s Day, according to the Sun-Sentinel. Cruz reportedly texted the couple’s son during the Uber ride Cruz took to the school moments before the shooting.
Cruz walked into the high school with an AR-15 rifle and fired at students and faculty members while walking through the hallways. He attempted to blend in with students fleeing the school after the massacre. He then went to a Walmart, and bought a drink at a Subway before going to a nearby McDonald’s. He was captured in a nearby neighborhood about an hour after the shooting.
Cruz was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder in the deadly shooting. He made his first court appearance on Thursday and was ordered held without bond.
He later confessed to the shooting, according to court documents.
The Associated Press contributed this report.