The problems reportedly started over a girl. Nikolas Cruz's mother in 2016 told investigators that his girlfriend had cheated on him and that she and the girl's mother had encouraged the teens to "end the relationship because it was unhealthy for everyone." Why Lynda Cruz told investigators this in the first place: Sheriff’s deputies and Department of Children & Family Services investigators looked into the teen after he posted images of himself cutting his arms on Snapchat in September 2016 and said he wanted to buy a gun. Lynda Cruz said her son began cutting himself after the relationship's demise. She told them her son did not have a gun but did have an air gun, though she had taken it from him because he broke her rules regarding where he could shoot it.
The Sun Sentinel quotes from the DCF report: "Mr. Cruz has fresh cuts on both his arms. Mr. Cruz stated he plans to go out and buy a gun. It is unknown what he is buying the gun for." Cruz didn't purchase his AR-15 for another five months, but the investigation occurred four days after he turned 18 and was legally able to buy a gun. The report's conclusion: "[Cruz’s] final level of risk is low as [he] resides with his mother, attends school and receives counseling through Henderson [Mental Health in Broward County]," which had determined he was "stable enough not to be hospitalized." "Every single red flag was being thrown up by this kid," says Chief Assistant Public Defender Gordon Weekes. CNN reports Cruz's attorney on Friday said the 19-year-old would be willing to plead guilty if he could avoid the death penalty in doing so. (Read more Nikolas Cruz stories.)