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Parkland Shooting Suspect Asked Victim's Brother For Ride After Massacre, Officials Say

Nikolas Cruz, who allegedly gunned down 17 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was looking for a ride at a nearby McDonald's shortly after the attack. 

By Eric Shorey

The suspect in the Parkland high school massacre asked the brother of a wounded student for a ride shortly after the attack, officials say.

Pinellas County Sheriff Sgt. John Suess described the encounter as “pure happenstance" at a Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission hearing Thursday, according to The Sun-Sentinel, a Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based news organization.

Cruz is said to have walked to a McDonald's close to the high shcool shortly after he’s accused of opening fire on his classmates, killing 17, on Feb. 14. There, he asked student John Wilford, who had been waiting for his mother to pick him up amongst many other students, for a ride home. John's sister, Maddy Wilford, was among those shot.

Suess described Cruz's request for a ride from Wilford as "pretty pushy," and said the two apparently had “very little" previous conversation.

Cruz's request was rebuffed: John Wilford left the McDonalds shortly after the two spoke and Cruz left after that, with the latter heading toward the Coral Springs neighborhood on foot. Cruz was then apprehended by police.

Maddy Wilford survived Cruz's attack and has since thanked doctors for helping her recover. She had been shot multiple times and was treated for chest wounds.

“I’m just glad that I’m making a full recovery and everything’s been going so smoothly,” she told the New York Times later in February.

In August, Maddy Wilford told the Times she was considering a career in medicine.

“With my injuries, I would have been dead,” she said. “The work they performed on me, and how quickly I recovered, it made me become more interested.”

A recent report from CNN indicates that 30 people knew of suspicious behavior by Cruz ahead of the shooting, which allegedly included mutilating animals, anti-Semitic communications, and collecting firearms. These people did not come forward with their knowledge until after the mass killing.

[Photo Credit: Broward County State Attorney's Office]