Nikolas Jacob Cruz (born September 24, 1998), also known as Nikolas de Jesus Cruz is a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. On Wednesday February 14, 2018, he committed a school shooting which left at least 17 people dead and others injured.
On Wednesday March 7, 2018, Cruz was formally charged with 17 counts of first-degree murder. He faces a death sentence if he is convicted.
Nikolas Cruz was a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. He frequently faced disciplinary actions for violence. His former math teacher Jim Gard said: "Last year that he wasn’t allowed on campus with a backpack on him. There were problems with him last year threatening students, and I guess he was asked to leave campus.”
Gard said he believes the school administration earlier sent out an e-mail warning teachers that the student had made threats against others in the past and that he should not be allowed on the school campus with a backpack.
A student, who was not identified, said he knows the shooter.
“He’s been a troubled kid,” said the student, “and he’s always had a certain amount of issues going on.
He shot guns because he felt it gave him, I guess, an exhilarating feeling.”
Multiple students described him as creepy, weird and someone who did not fit in with the other students.
“Girls thought he was creepy and weird,” Milan Parodie told The Daily Beast. “He wore a lot of black and was always alone... I don’t know how to put it but, like, he never seemed depressed or sad. He was always a little crazy is the best way to put it.” 
“I knew him to be passive aggressive but not violent. He was rude to people. He had an act up like he was tough. He never got into, like, physical fights with anyone, but he did get into verbal arguments,” 17-year-old Ocean Parodie told The Daily Beast. “I just thought he dropped out of school, I didn’t think he would do anything. He always kept a low profile.” 
“He was definitely not accepted at our school socially.
People saw him as someone who was different than the normal people at our school,” Parodie added.
Douglas High has a place students call “the Emo Gazebo,” he said.
“That’s where all the kids that are considered weird or not accepted sat.
Kids at the Emo Gazebo didn’t even accept him there.
He was just an outcast...He didn’t have any friends.”
Cruz always had his hair short and had a penchant for wearing patriotic shirts that “seemed really extreme, like hating on” Islam, Parodie said.
The suspected gunman would also deride Muslims as “terrorists and bombers.”
“Most kids ignored him at school.
They pushed him off to the side as if he was garbage.
He screamed in class one time.
He was upset and just started yelling at the teacher.
The teacher was trying to help him and he just took it the wrong way,” Parodie continued.
“I could tell he tried to be social at times but there was something off about him,” she said.
“I never really saw him with many people.
Girls thought he was creepy and weird.
He was pretty pale with red hair.
I didn’t talk to him that much, but from what I could tell he wasn’t a nice kid.
He wore a lot of black and was always alone.
Still, Milan Parodie described Cruz as “always enthusiastic...
He never seemed depressed or sad.
He was always a little crazy is the best way to put it...
He was peppy but not in a good way, in a crazy way.
He tried to look creepy or weird, I think.
He tried to talk to one of my girlfriends and he said she was cute, but she was weirded out and he was bothering her.”
His adoptive mother, Lynda Cruz, died in November 2017 from pneumonia. He is the half brother of Zachary Cruz.
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In the Media
On Wednesday February 14, 2018, Cruz was allegedly identified as the gunman in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting.
Cruz opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, reportedly killing 17 people, mostly students and adults.
Cruz was taken into custody.
Cruz allegedly pulled the school fire alarm, causing chaos, and then started shooting with an AR-15 rifle.
Cruz legally purchased the rifle he used in the shooting from Sunrise Tactical Supply, a gun store in Sunrise, Florida in February, 2017.
A math teacher who once taught Cruz, told local media that there were problems with him last year threatening students.
Another student interviewed on the scene by WSVN-7 stated that Cruz had guns at home and talked about using them.
After being taken into custody, Cruz was transported to Broward Health North.
There have been at least 17 reported casualties as a result of the shooting.
At his arraignment before Judge Kim Theresa Mollica on February 15, 2018 Cruz was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder and ordered held without bond. If convicted of capital murder by a jury, he could face the death penalty.
According to an affidavit by the Broward County Sheriff's Office, he confessed to the shooting, stating that he brought additional loaded magazines hidden in a backpack.
The public defender's office said he will plead guilty if the death penalty is taken off the table.
The chief public defender in Broward County said that it is not yet known if Cruz's attorneys will seek an insanity defense.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said she is certain prosecutors will seek the death penalty.
Cruz was placed on suicide watch in an isolation cell after the arraignment. He was formally charged with 17 counts of first-degree murder on Wednesday March 7, 2018. Cruz faces a death sentence if he is convicted.
His public defender has stated he will plead guilty if prosecutors take the death penalty off the table, which would mean a life prison sentence. Prosecutors have 45 days to decide whether they want to seek the death penalty.
On Thursday, February 15, 2018, the Anti-Defamation League reported that Cruz has ties to a Florida based white supremacy group called the Republic of Florida. Jordan Jereb, the apparent leader of the ROF stated that Cruz had participated in one or more of their training sessions in Tallahassee.