The Florida couple who took in orphaned school shooter Nikolas Cruz say he seemed like a “normal” kid, but a former friend of the accused gunman painted a vastly different picture of the person the host couple thought they knew.
Ariana Lopez, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where Cruz used an assault-style rifle to kill 17 people last week, said she warned school officials “multiple” times over the last few years about Cruz’s strange and violent behavior. Lopez made an appearance on “Good Morning America” Tuesday to recount her “disturbing” encounters with the shooting suspect.
“He used to sell knives out of his lunchbox, which I thought was like insane because you can’t have knives … [in] a school,” she said. “He would talk about how he sympathized with Syrian terrorists and how people who opposed them should be killed.”
Lopez, who took cover in one of the school’s closets to escape Wednesday’s massacre, said Cruz would also act violently toward his ex-girlfriend, as well as Lopez and her friends. The teen said she reported Cruz to school officials multiple times between 2016 and 2016 after Cruz began stalking her and her friends.
“He talked about killing our parents, our friends, boyfriends and girlfriends,” Lopez told GMA. “He would hit [his ex-girlfriend], he would threaten her, he would threaten her family and her friends, for talking to other guys.”
James and Kimberly Snead, the couple who hosted Cruz at their home after his adoptive mother died of the flu last year, were oblivious to the would-be gunman’s behavior. They also interviewed with “Good Morning America,” saying they had no idea they’d invited a “monster” to come stay with them.
“Everything everybody seems to know, we didn’t know,” James Snead said. “We had rules and he followed every rule to the T … He was very polite. He seemed normal.”
In contrast, Lopez said she wasn’t the least bit surprised when authorities announced Cruz as the shooter.
“Even before they announced that he was the shooter, we all knew it was Nik,” she said of herself and former classmates. “He was the only person that we could think of that would do something like this because it was obvious that he had the power to do this.”
Cruz has since been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.