The family who took in alleged Florida mass shooter Nikolas Cruz spoke out Monday, saying they are still having trouble processing what happened.
In an interview with “Good Morning America,” Kimberly and James Snead explained that Cruz had been living with the couple and their teenage son for about three months. He moved in following the death of his adoptive parents.
Kimberly told TV host Michael Strahan that she was “devastated” to learn the 19-year-old allegedly carried out last week’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 dead.
“I still can’t process it, what he’s done. Because this wasn’t the person that we knew, not at all,” she said.
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She said Cruz had followed all house rules while living with them, and was generally quiet.
The couple recounted their experience from the Valentine’s Day shooting, saying things seemed normal in the morning, with the exception of Cruz saying he wasn’t going to school.
But hours later, the Sneads heard of shooting reports and called their son who attended the high school — he was already fleeing the scene.
“A description came out, and we put two and two together, me and my son,” James said.
The Sneads said they were aware that Cruz owned an AR-15 rifle, but made him lock it up.
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Kimberly said she saw Cruz at the police station following the shooting and felt enraged.
“I really wanted to strangle him, more than anything. Everything I wanted to say — I tried to reserve myself.”
The family doesn’t plan on seeing him again.
Since the shooting, several reports have emerged on Cruz and the life he led. Authorities said last week that Cruz had been expelled from school last year for disciplinary reasons.
Former schoolmate Victoria Olvera told The Associated Press Cruz was kicked out after a fight with his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend. She said Cruz had been abusive to his girlfriend.
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“He would always have problems with every single one of his teachers,” another student told CBS News.
Cruz had been considered a potential threat to his classmates in the past, according to his former teacher, the Miami Herald reported.
The FBI also admitted Friday that it mishandled a January tip about Cruz, which stated he had a desire to kill.
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— With a file from The Associated Press, Global News reporter Kevin Nielsen