The family that Nikolas Cruz had been living with spoke out about what he was like before he shot and killed 17 people at a Florida high school. Here’s what they had to say.
Nikolas Cruz, 19, had been living in Kimberly and James Snead‘s home since Nov. 2017 after his adopted mother died of pneumonia. In the aftermath of the horrific shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, the family who took in the shooter revealed what it was like having him in their house on Good Morning America. “It’s a roller coaster of emotions. It’s still tough, we’re still hurting, we’re still grieving,” James said. “[He was] nothing like they portrayed on TV or in the media.”
On Feb. 14, a SWAT team called James asking if he knew where Nikolas was. The father then got in touch with his biological son, who had been fleeing the scene at the time, and they were able to piece together what happened once a description of the shooter was released. The family saw him again at the police station, where Kimberly said she “basically went after him; I really wanted to strangle him more than anything.” She added that she was, “furious. Just heartbroken, devastated. I still can’t process what he’s done. Because this wasn’t the person that we knew, not at all.”
Kimberly and James also said they weren’t aware of Cruz’s Instagram accounts that he used to post animal killings and photos of himself with guns. “As far as the animal killings, he never did anything like that at our house. We have animals and he loved our animals and our animals loved him,” James said, before explaining that they also made Cruz lock his weapons in a gun safe that James thought he had the only key to. They didn’t think they had to be worried about Nikolas owning guns because “he followed the rules.” They don’t plan on going to see him anymore. Watch the full clip in the video below.
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