Home / Top Story / Florida shooter with history of problems bought his AR-15 legally

Florida shooter with history of problems bought his AR-15 legally

The gunman who mowed down 17 students legally bought the weapon he used to wage war on innocents at his former school, according to an attorney for the family with which he lived.

Details about Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old who was expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., emerged Wednesday after he returned with an AR-15 assault rifle and opened fire while stalking the halls.

Cruz’s adopted mother, Long Island native Lynda Cruz, died in November, and the family he stayed with afterwards said that he already owned his killing machine before he moved in with them.

“It was his gun,” family lawyer Jim Lewis said. “The family made him keep it in a locked gun cabinet in the house but he had a key.”

Expelled student guns down 17 at Florida high school

Investigators are still piecing together the moments that led to Cruz — who was able to by the gun despite a history of behavioral issues — returning to the school.


Medical personnel tend to a victim following the shooting Wednesday afternoon.

(John McCall/AP)

Florida Sen. Bill Nelson said that beyond his AR-15, Cruz also had smoke grenades and a gas mask.

It was not immediately clear where Cruz was able to obtain the grenades.

He was arrested in a nearby neighborhood after he reportedly left the building by blending in with a crowd of evacuating students as cops arrived.

Fla. high school gunman joked about carrying out school shooting

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said that postings on the shooter’s social media profiles, were “very, very disturbing.”

Students hid under desks during the attack on their school.

Students hid under desks during the attack on their school.

(Miami Herald via Twitter/@Tezlurkss)

Photos emerged Wednesday of Cruz showing off weapons, including a gun and knives, and fellow students said he talked about them often.

A Twitter user who claimed to be a classmate of the shooter said that he also “posted pictures of animals he killed gruesomely.”

Beyond general worries about allowing civilians to buy an AR-15s, based off of the military’s M-60, advocates for stricter gun-control laws questioned why someone like Cruz was able to buy one.

Language arts teacher Melissa Falkowski, who hid in a closets with her students during the attack, said that the “government has failed us and failed our kids” by repeatedly doing nothing in the face of mass shootings.


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