School considered shooting suspect potential 'threat' year before massacre

Nikolas Cruz has history of school disciplinary reports

By Bob Norman - Investigative Reporter

PARKLAND, Fla. - Administrators at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School recommended back in January 2017 that the school board conduct a "threat assessment" on Nikolas Cruz to determine if he was a danger to the school and its students, according to documents exclusively obtained by Local 10 News.

A copy of Cruz's discipline summary shows that Cruz was involved in an assault at the school on Jan. 19, 2017, less than three weeks before he was transferred out of the school. It was on that date that the school put in a referral for the threat assessment on Cruz, who now faces 17 counts of premeditated murder for firing an AR-15 rifle at the high school on Valentine's Day. 

It's not known at this time what the result of the assessment was, or even if the school board conducted it, as board spokeswoman Tracy Clarke said she couldn't answer those questions, citing student privacy.

Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said Thursday, however, that the school board had no clue of the danger that lurked in the former student. 

"We received no warning, no hints, no tips," Runcie said. "There was no warning that we saw."

Numerous students, however, have told Local 10 News they had long suspected Cruz was a walking time bomb. 

"I had a lot of suspicions about him," student Guiliana Matamoros said. "He's mentioned plenty of times that he wanted to shoot people and, like, that's why he would want to go to the military." 

On top of that, there were many ominous social media posts with Cruz posing with guns and knives, talking of killing animals and of buying high-powered rifles, some of them posted while he was still a student at the school. 

The newly obtained records show Cruz had serious school discipline problems since at least 2012, while he was a student at Westglades Middle School.

He was hit with disciplinary action 25 times over about 16 months of classroom time -- often for insults and profane language and also for fighting and disruptive behavior that led to multiple suspensions, parent conferences and referrals for family counseling.

In early 2014, he was transferred to Cross Creek School in Pompano Beach for emotionally and behaviorally disturbed students. 

Cruz began attending Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Jan. 13, 2016, and was withdrawn on Feb. 8, 2017, reportedly as a result of a transfer. Students have told Local 10 News that ammunition had been found in his backpack, but the discipline summary doesn't include any mention of that. It shows that Cruz was disciplined on five occasions, for insults, profane language, profanity against staff, fighting and finally the assault. Details of that alleged assault have not yet surfaced. 

After leaving Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, records show he briefly attended the Off Campus Learning Center at J.P. Taravella High School before bouncing around from the Henry D. Perry Education Center, an alternative school for adults in Miramar, to the Dave Thomas Education Center in Coconut Creek, and then back to Perry, where he was enrolled at the time of the shooting.

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