Login

Teen Who Gunned Down His Classmates Bought His AR-15 Legally

Screengrab/CBC News/YouTube
-edited

Nikolas Cruz, 19, purchased the weapon legally after he turned 18.

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.

This boy would be suspicious for fetal alcohol syndrome, schizophrenia, traumatic brain injury and other possibilities and he definitely should have been evaluated and in treatment. Just by looking at his features, is enough to be suspicious of him. When you add in his behavior, there is more to be concerned about. We have to become more sophisticated in our thinking about violence and mental health. Certainly, only a small percentage of people who have mental illness become violent, especially to this degree, but the thing is, that small percentage, as we have seen, can cause a lot of death and destruction and trauma.

This boy was making threats and gave plenty of warning. The problem is that people did not respond to the warning. This is a person who would require medication and ongoing treatment. If he was not in treatment, then that would be a major problem.

Some mental illnesses require treatment for the life of the person. We have to be prepared to provide that. And we certainly should not have weaponry out there available to average citizens of this kind and people with mental illness should not be able to get weapons. While that may infringe on their rights, it may also help to save their lives and it is for the greater good.

It is not to say that a focus on mental illness alone will solve the problem. We need good treatment for people who are mentally ill and since the Reagan days, that has been declining. But, we also need to focus on ridding ourselves of military style weaponry. We need to have a national, well utilized data base for background checks. One should not be able to cross over into another state and get their weapons of choice. State by state laws are not going to help. Gun shows don't help. We need consistent nationally enforced laws to manage this deadly problem.

(Heckler in the Real Grass Roots (UNPAID) Crowd)

1

Just by looking?
You're the one who's crazy, pal.

Stories