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Cops Were at Florida Suspect's House 39 Times

Nikolas Cruz's lawyers call him a 'broken child'; ex-classmates aren't so generous
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 16, 2018 1:02 PM CST

(Newser) – The FBI has acknowledged that it received a tip about Florida shooting suspect Nikolas Kruz in January that wasn't properly investigated, as details continue to trickle in on the 19-year-old's evolution "from 'broken child' to mass killer" in the words of CNN. His defense attorneys say Cruz has suffered from mental illness and depression, helped along by the recent death of his mother, while former classmates recall a "very, very strange" and even "evil" kid. One ex-classmate recalls Cruz doing troubling things like hurting animals and hurling rocks at cars. Also among CNN's findings: documents that show the cops had been called to Cruz's house 39 times over a seven-year period. Details on what spurred those calls were unclear. More on this developing story:

  • Security holes. The Sun Sentinel touches on how school officials and police believe Cruz was able to exploit the school's security systems, including by waiting for just the right time when key defenses were down.

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  • The white nationalist link. Shortly after the shooting, whispers circulated that Cruz was part of a Tallahassee-based paramilitary group, partly due to claims by the group's leader. The Tallahassee Democrat and CBS News explain now why this may not be accurate. The militia group's leader is saying it's all a "misunderstanding."
  • Controversy over school shooting stats. One figure that's been passed around on social media since the shooting is being disputed. The Washington Post points out why there haven't actually been 18 school shootings in the US in 2018—though it all comes down to semantics.
  • But the stats are still grim. A Guardian graphic shows that since 1989, 97 children have been killed in mass shootings at school, while 126 have been injured.

  • Rally for a basketball player. Junior Maddy Wilford, a player for the Douglas basketball team, is "fighting for her life," her coach posted on social media Thursday morning, per the Sun Sentinel. A GoFundMe has been set up for Maddy by a former classmate of her mom's, and he notes on the fundraising page that a Thursday surgery for Maddy "went well."
  • A local sheriff's message to lawmakers. At a candlelight vigil in Parkland Thursday night, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel delivered some sobering words to politicians, per Fox News. "If you're an elected official, and you want to keep things the way they are … if you want to keep the gun laws as they are now, you will not get re-elected in Broward County," he said.
  • Rumors and misinformation. Plenty of it has been floating around since the shooting, and Snopes squashes the most prevalent. No, Cruz isn't an undocumented DACA recipient, a fabrication that seems to have emerged due to his Spanish-sounding last name. The site also touches on the re-upped "Sam Hyde" hoax.
  • Buying guns in the Sunshine State. CNN offers a primer on the gun laws in Florida, which doesn't require a permit or license to buy a firearm, or registration for it. Assault weapons are also unregulated, and a buyer can scoop up as many guns as he or she likes in one sale.
(Read more Parkland school shooting stories.)

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