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Nikolas’ Cruz’s mom thought he was too disturbed to ever live on his own, but she took him to buy an AK-47 anyway, according to documents released Friday by prosecutors in the Parkland school shootings.
An employee from Gun World of South Florida told detectives that an older woman who he thought was Cruz’s grandmother — but likely was his mother, Lynda Cruz — came with him to the Deerfield Beach shop when Cruz bought an AK-47 rifle. He was 18.
That woman later called the store and asked that the gun not be released to him if she wasn’t present “because he’s just young, and I just want to make sure he’s safe and everything,” she told the clerk.
But the employee, Kevin Fanti, told her Cruz was 18 and as an adult was legally allowed to pick up the gun unless she believed he was not fit to own one. The woman told Fanti: “No he’s fine. I just want to make sure he’s safe, you know, he’s young, the first gun,” he told detectives.
Lynda Cruz was 68 when she died of pneumonia in November 2017. Her son had turned 18 a year earlier. She had raised him and his brother — both adopted — as a single parent for many years after losing her husband when Nikolas was a tot.
Cruz is accused of killing 17 staff and students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High on Valentine’s Day of this year. He used a different gun in his arsenal in the assault — an AR-15.
Prosecutors, by law, are releasing documents to the defense, including witness statements that also must be made available to the media. Nearly 200 pages released Friday reveal the strange dichotomy of a woman who was afraid of her troubled son yet indulged his passion for guns.
Lynda Cruz confided to friend Marni Garvey of Coral Springs that Cruz probably would spend the rest of his life with her and would never be able to be independent.
‘She just always used to say: ‘I just want him to get out of high school, I just want him to get out of high school,’” Garvey told a Broward County Sheriff’s Office detective. “She said: ‘I know he’s never going to be able to move out.’”
School records show Nikolas was found to be developmentally delayed at age 3. He also had had a host of other problems, including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, depression and an emotional behavioral disability. His mother described him to police as autistic.
Garvey said Cruz had “screaming episodes” and would tell his mother to “go f--- herself” and “I wish you to die.”
“He pushed her, you know, he was very violent with her,” Garvey said.
Cruz “used to punch holes in the wall, he used to throw furniture over. He broke TVs, he … was very into guns,” explained Garvey, who said she knew the family for about seven years. Their sons went to camp together.
Cruz was an “odd kid” who “made us all nervous,” she said. Once Cruz hit her son in the head with a ladle. “He was very abusive. He was very, he was a rough kid.”
Garvey said Lynda Cruz used to whisper in the house so Nikolas didn’t hear her talking because she was afraid of his obsession with guns.
Yet, Garvey told detectives: “His mother was the one that took him for the gun.”
Paul Gold, a former neighbor of the Cruz family, told investigators Lynda Cruz was a caring mother but was overwhelmed by two sons with behavioral problems.
“Nikolas had terrible emotional problems, and he had trouble controlling his temper,” Gold said. He said Nikolas could be very sweet but then would “freak out” and “start throwing things and start breaking things and start holding his ears and screaming.”
Nikolas knocked out some of his mother’s teeth and she was still paying the $2,000 dental bills when she died, according to the testimony of a cousin of Lynda Cruz.
I think it has been well established that Lynda Cruz was an enabler. But whether she did it out of fear or love or a mix of both is just a moot point.