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Just months after his adoptive mother died from pneumonia complications, Nikolas Cruz, 19, went on to commit one of the deadliest mass shootings in American history, killing 17.

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But between Nov. 2017 and Feb. 2018, Cruz was taken in by James and Kimberly Snead, who have come forward after the massacre to say that they did not see the warning signs everyone else did.

The Sneads, James a U.S. Army vet and Kimberly a nurse, appeared on “Good Morning America” early Monday and said Cruz was “polite,” followed their rules “to a T” and “seemed normal.”

They said that Cruz sent their son a text on Valentine’s Day afternoon, just before the shooting, that he was going to the movies.

James Snead said the last text sent was “Yo.”

“He told my son he’s going to the movies. And he said he had something to tell him. And my son pressed him, ‘What is it? What is it?’ And he goes, ‘Nothing bad, bro.’ That was it,” he said. “He said he was going to the movies. The last text my son got was, um — ‘Yo.’ That was it.”

The Sneads said their son was also a student Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 were killed. They said they are experiencing a “roller coaster of emotions,” saying they are “furious,” “heartbroken,” “angry” and “betrayed.”

“Everything everybody seems to know we didn’t know,” James Snead added.

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Kimberly Snead was asleep at the time of the shooting. After James Snead and his son figured out that Nikolas Cruz was the shooter, Snead said, he contacted the police worrying for his wife’s safety.

“At that point, I was panic-stricken for her safety so I called the SWAT officer back to get the police back to my house to check on her,” he said.

While the Sneads were not aware of warning signs, others were.

In case you missed it, the FBI released a statement after the mass shooting saying that “protocols were not followed” after receiving a tip about Cruz’s erratic behavior and “desire to kill” on its Public Access Line (PAL) on Jan. 5, 2018.

In September, Nikolas Cruz, using a screen name on YouTube of “Nikolas Cruz,” wrote “I’m going to be a professional school shooter.”

Benjamin Bennight, a Mississippi bail bondsman, was concerned enough after seeing the “professional school shooter” comment on his Youtube channel that he took a screenshot of it on his phone and called the FBI. Two FBI agents visited Bennight the next day.

But the FBI said it never spoke to the Florida teen.

“No other information was included in the comment which would indicate a particular time, location or the true identity of the person who posted the comment,” said Brett Carr, a spokesman for the FBI office in Jackson, Mississippi. “The FBI conducted database reviews and other checks but was unable to further identify the person who posted the comment.”

Math teacher Jim Gard told The Miami Herald that Cruz may have been seen as a potential threat well before the rampage. Gard said he believes the school had sent out an email warning teachers that Cruz shouldn’t be allowed on campus with a backpack.

“There were problems with him last year threatening students, and I guess he was asked to leave campus,” Gard told the newspaper.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Matt Naham About the author:
Matt Naham is the Weekend Editor  for Rare. Follow him on Twitter @matt_naham.
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