Home / Top Story / Father who opened home to Fla. gunman grapples with mass shooting

Father who opened home to Fla. gunman grapples with mass shooting

The father who took in the Florida school shooter after his mother died says he’s struggling to cope with the mass killing.

“We are going through a lot,” James Snead said outside his home Friday. “We are hurting right now.”

Snead spoke out for the first time two days after a maniacal teen gunman murdered 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

Nikolas Cruz, 19, a deeply troubled loner who was obsessed with weapons and violence, confessed to the crime, authorities said.

The Snead family opened their home to Cruz after his mother died suddenly of complications to the flu last November.

“They had no idea that this kid was capable of this,” family lawyer Jim Lewis told the Palm Beach Post.

“They were just trying to give him a place to live, and now the world has gone crazy.”

The Sneads allowed Cruz to store his gun, a semi-automatic AR-15 rifle, in his bedroom on the condition that it be kept in a lockbox.

Not Released (NR)

Kristi Gilroy (r.) hugs a young woman at a police check point near the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after the shooting.

(Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

But the struggling teen, who suffered from depression and was devastated by the death of his mother, never gave any indication that he was planning to commit violence, the lawyer said.

“They didn’t see anything,” Lewis said.

“The mother said if they had any suspicious that he was violent, was capable of anything like this, he would have never stepped foot in her house.”

Cruz was placed under a suicide watch at the county jail Thursday after he was ordered held without bond on 17 counts of premeditated murder.

His defense lawyer described him as “an emotionally broken young man.”

“He has been through a lot of trauma,” added public defender Gordon Weekes. “He has suffered significant mental illness and significant mental trauma.”

Edgar Sandoval reporting in Parkland, Fla.

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