The deputy who remained outside the Parkland school while a gunman massacred 17 people inside knew the teen shared Instagram posts about shooting up a school back in 2016.
The Broward County Sheriff’s Office released a call log of nearly two dozen reports related to Nikolas Cruz after the 19-year-old opened fire at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day.
On Feb. 6, 2016, a neighbor’s son called police to report that Cruz “planned to shoot up the school,” citing an Instagram photo of the teen posing with guns.
A deputy reached out to the tipster and determined Cruz possessed knives and a BB gun before forwarding the information to Stoneman Douglas School Resource Officer Scot Peterson, the New York Times reported.
It remains unclear how Peterson responded, but the sheriff’s office has launched an internal affairs investigation to look into whether any policies were violated.
Two years later, Peterson took up a defensive position outside the freshman building when Cruz opened fire at the school, and failed to confront the teen.
Peterson resigned on Thursday, according to Sheriff Scott Israel, who said he was “devastated” and “sick to [his] stomach” at the deputy’s response.
The call log, which was also released on Thursday, raises questions about the numerous red flags Cruz exhibited in the decade leading up to the shooting.
The first report came in 2008 after a boy threw a rock at Cruz, who was just 9 years old at the time. He responded in kind, and no further police action was taken since the parents did not want to press charges.
While many of the disturbance calls seem innocuous on their own, others show a pattern of violence. His mother Lynda Cruz called the sheriff’s office in 2012, saying her son Nikolas hit her with a plastic hose from the vacuum cleaner.
Lynda Cruz, who told deputies her son had ADHD, OCD, and “anger issues” over the years, called deputies the next year claiming her son threw her against the wall after she took away his Xbox.
A deputy responded, along with a mental health professional who determined an involuntary psychiatric evaluation was not warranted.
On Sept. 28, 2016, a counselor told a school resource officer that Cruz “possibly ingested gasoline” in an attempted suicide and engaged in other forms of self-harm.
“Cruz indicated he wished to purchase a gun for hunting and was in possession of items concerning hate related communications/symbols,” the log states.
The school “indicated” it would conduct a threat assessment on Cruz, and another mental health professional concluded once again that the Baker Act was unnecessary.
Hours later that same day, another report alleged Cruz was self-harming and talking about purchasing a gun, and yet a therapist found he was not a threat to himself or to others.
After his mother died in 2017, Cruz’s aunt Katherine Blaine called police, asking the sheriff’s office to recover the teen’s rifles, according to the log.
While a family friend agreed to take the guns, it remains unclear whether that was enforced. And when the sheriff’s office interviewed Blaine after the school shooting, she denied any knowledge that Cruz was armed, saying instead that she thought he had BB guns.
On Nov. 11, 2017, the sheriff’s office received a call from someone in Massachusetts who feared Cruz “could be a school shooter in the making.”
The tipster also shared that the teen might be keeping his weapons at a friend’s house, but no report was initiated. Instead, the responding deputy said he referred the caller to the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office.
Another internal review has been launched regarding the last suspicious incident call, and two deputies were placed on restricted duty on Thursday for their response to the reports.