Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old responsible for the shooting deaths of 17 people at a Florida high school Wednesday, was reportedly a fan of President Donald Trump, based on imagery from his social media account.
The MAGA hat makes an appearance in a profile picture on one of the Instagram pages that Heavy has verified belonged to Cruz, 19, an expelled student who is accused of going on a rampage with an AR-15 weapon. On the page with the MAGA hat, the accused school shooter went by the handle @nikolascruzmakarov; MAGA stands for the slogan “Make America Great Again” and is President Donald Trump’s campaign motto. Makarov is the name of a Russian-made pistol.
The president has commented several times on the school shooting, primarily via Twitter.
Trump held a press conference on February 15, in which he said the shooter had “opened fire on defenseless students and teachers.” The president added, “Our entire nation with one heavy heart is praying for the victims and their families.” He pledged that the government “was here for you” to the victims’ families. “We are all joined together as one American family,” Trump said. “…No child, no teacher should ever be in danger in an American school.” The president said that “we hold onto God’s word in scripture.” He said he wanted to speak directly to “America’s children,” adding, “I want you to know that you are never alone, and you never will be.”
Though police have made no mention of motive for the shooting, Jordan Jereb, the leader of white supremacist group Republic of Florida, told the Associated Press that it might have been related to Cruz's troubles with a girl.
Jordan, a leader in the militia that has been described as similar to the Ku Klux Klan, told AP that Cruz had previous trouble with a female and might have chosen Valentine’s Day for the massacre for that reason. According to Daily Beast, Jereb says a member of the group may have given Cruz a rifle.
To be clear, authorities have not said that politics played any role in the shootings. They have indicated that they are not certain of the motive, and those who knew Cruz described him to various Florida and national media outlets as an odd loner obsessed with guns. His social media pages focus on weaponry, both guns and knives. However, the MAGA hat is one detail in the fuller biography of the accused shooter, and the social posts, in totality, help give a picture of the man.