The ex-student who fatally shot 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, appeared to be inspired by radical Islam.
Nikolas Cruz, the suspect in the shooting, had posted a number of alarming things on his social media pages—including an Instagram that showed the definition of “Allahu Akbar,” an Arabic phrase meaning “God is Great,” but has been frequently invoked by Islamic terrorists.
Despite his potential influences, however, Cruz is not suspected of being tied to international terrorism.
But he left behind a history of alarming red flags that could have suggested he was capable of mass violence—including posing with a number of guns and knives in provocative Instagram posts.
Last year, Cruz had been suspended from Stoneman Douglas for fight, and he had also been found with bullets in his backpack.
His behavior had alarmed the high school so much that the school administrator sent an email warning teachers about him. He was, apparently, banned from carrying a backpack on campus with him during his final year of school in 2016 and 2017—after a history of threatening students and making violent threats.
“He used to have weird, random outbursts, cursing at teachers,” said Drew Fairchild, a classmate of Cruz’s at Stoneman Douglas. “He was a troubled kid.”
Another parent of a Stoneman Douglas student agreed with Fairchild’s view: “If you were to pick one person you might predict in the future would shoot up a school or do this, it would be this kid,” said John Crescitelli, quoting information his son had told him.
Cruz was arrested by police on the scene, and will likely face multiple murder charges.