Despite the Broward Country Sheriff’s Office’s claim that deputies were called to Florida school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz’s home on no more than 23 occasions prior to the tragedy, records obtained by CNN paint a different picture and shed light on the fact that the gunman wasn’t the only family member with frequent run-ins with authorities.
According to the documents, the sheriff’s office was received at least 45 calls in relation to Cruz or his younger brother Zachary, 18, from 2008-2017 — even more than the 39 previously thought. At least 19 of the calls were in regard to Nikolas Cruz, beginning when he was as young as 9 years old. An additional 25 calls, however, were made in regard to his brother for behavior ranging from running away to hitting his mother. It’s unclear which boy the remaining call was about.
Listing a unique identifying number, dispatch date and time and description for each call, the police descriptions include mentions of a “mentally ill person,” “child/elderly abuse,” “domestic disturbance,” “missing person” and more with the majority of calls resulting in “no written report.” It’s unclear why a discrepancy exits in the number of calls reported by the sheriff’s office and the media, as the agency has not yet responded to requests for an explanation.
Days after Nikolas Cruz gunned down 17 people with an AR-15 and injured over a dozen more at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day, his brother Zachary was involuntarily committed for a psychiatric exam. He later broke his silence on the massacre over the weekend, posting a photo of the two boys smiling and embracing as kids. He also wrote, “Appreciate all the positive messages” on Facebook.
Information on the calls come as Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel faces growing public criticism and calls for his resignation for failing to follow up on multiple red flags, including the numerous house calls and several tips that Cruz may have been planning a school shooting. When asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper if he takes “any responsibility for the multiple red flags” that were brought to his office’s attention, he replied, “Jake, I can only take responsibility for what I knew about. I exercised my due diligence. I have given amazing leadership to this agency.”