Police are investigating the online footprint of the alleged shooter responsible for the deadly school shooting on Wednesday in Parkland, Florida. At least 17 people are dead and at least 14 others were wounded. Of those 14, at least five are fighting suffering life-threatening injuries, according to hospital officials.
The alleged shooter has been identified as Nikolas Cruz, 19, who allegedly stalked the halls of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School while wearing a gas mask and armed with an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle, multiple magazines and smoke grenades.
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said Cruz's online presence was loaded with "very, very disturbing" content, CNN reported. Last fall, someone tipped off the FBI after a YouTube user with the name "Nikolas Cruz" posted a comment, "I'm going to be a professional school shooter" on a video, BuzzFeed News reported. In another YouTube comment, he allegedly wrote, “I whana [sic] shoot people with my AR-15," "I wanna die Fighting killing sh*t ton of people" and "I am going to kill law enforcement one day they go after the good people."
On his Instagram page, Cruz brandished multiple guns: a shotgun and a BB gun. In another Instagram post, he showed off long knives, CNN reported. Cruz was allegedly obsessed with firearms and reportedly bragged about killing animals. He also allegedly once brought knives to school, reported The New York Times. According to NBC News, he had recently been expelled from the school.
Brandon Minoff, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, told CNN he worked with Cruz for a school project in the past.
"He always just seemed very quiet and strange. [...] But when I got assigned to work with him, he started talking to me. [...] He told me how he got kicked out of two private schools. He was held back twice. He had aspirations to join the military. He enjoyed hunting,” Minoff said.
It is believed that the shooter pulled a fire alarm to draw out more students so he could up the death toll, CNN reported. It is also believed that Cruz tossed his weapon aside and ran alongside his ex-classmates, pretending to be a scared student instead of a suspected shooter in order to escape. He was apprehended shortly after. This morning, he was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder, one for each of the students and adults he killed, reported The New York Times.
Students and adults are among the dead, according to The Washington Post. Authorities have withheld the victims' names from the public until their families can be notified.