In sorting out the details of Wednesday's school shooting in Florida, police have determined that 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz legally purchased the semiautomatic weapon he used to kill 17 people and would many more.
Cruz legally purchased the AR-15 used in the attack about a year ago, law enforcement officials told The Associated Press. The officials, not authorized to discuss this publicly, spoke on condition of anonymity. Federal law allows people 18 and older to legally purchase long guns, including this kind of assault weapon.
Cruz had been living with the family of a friend after his adoptive mother died, and they said although they were aware he owned the weapon, he was made to keep it in a locked cabinet, for which he held the key.
Attorney Jim Lewis told the AP that the family is cooperating with authorities, and had no idea he was planning the shooting.
He seemed like "just a mildly troubled kid who'd lost his mom" during the three months they lived together; respectful and quiet, but also sad because his mother had died, Lewis said.
They had "no indication that anything severe like this was wrong," Lewis said. "He totally kept this from everybody."
But others who knew Cruz had a different opinion about his capability for violence:
Victoria Olvera, a 17-year-old junior, said Cruz was expelled last school year because he got into a fight with his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend. She said he had been abusive to the girl.
"I think everyone had in their minds if anybody was going to do it, it was going to be him," said Dakota Mutchler, also 17.