A former friend of Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old who confessed to opening fire on a Florida high school last week, says she told school officials that she was concerned about his behavior “multiple” times over the last several years.
Ariana Lopez is a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where Cruz is suspected of using at assault-style rifle to gun down 17 people on Wednesday. She opened up about her “disturbing” experiences with Cruz during an appearance Tuesday on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
“He used to sell knives out of his lunchbox, which I thought was like insane because you can’t have knives … [in] a school,” Lopez said. “He would talk about how he sympathized with Syrian terrorists and how people who opposed them should be killed.”
Lopez, who hid in one of the school’s closets to escape the shooting Wednesday, said Cruz would act violently toward his ex-girlfriend, as well as Lopez and her friends.
“He talked about killing our parents, our friends, boyfriends and girlfriends,” Lopez said. “He would hit [his ex-girlfriend], he would threaten her, he would threaten her family and her friends, for talking to other guys.”
Lopez said she reported Cruz to school officials “multiple” times between 2016 and 2017 after he began following her and her friends after school. A representative for Broward County Schools did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
James and Kimberly Snead, the couple who hosted Cruz in their home since his adopted mother died in November, said Monday they were shocked when they found out about the shooting Wednesday.
“Everything everybody seems to know, we didn’t know,” said James Snead on “Good Morning America.” “We had rules and he followed every rule to the T … He was very polite. He seemed normal.”
But Lopez said she was far from surprised when police identified Cruz as the shooter.
“Even before they announced that he was the shooter, we all knew it was Nik,” Lopez said about herself and Cruz’s other former classmates. “He was the only person that we could think of that would do something like this because it was obvious that he had the power to do this.”
Cruz was charged Thursday with 17 counts of premeditated murder. He is being held without bail.