In yet another failure by officials which could have prevented last month's Florida school massacre, Parkland school officials and a sheriff's deputy recommended in September 2016 that suspect Nikolas Cruz be involuntarily committed to a psychiatric facility for a mental evaluation, according to documents obtained by the Associated Press.
Under the law, having been committed would have made it more difficult, if not impossible for Cruz to have legally obtained firearms.
The documents, which are part of Cruz’s criminal case in the shooting, show that he had written the word “kill” in a notebook, told a classmate that he wanted to buy a gun and use it, and had cut his arm supposedly in anger because he had broken up with a girlfriend. He also told another student he had drunk gasoline and was throwing up. Calls had even been made to the FBI about the possibility of Cruz using a gun at school. -AP
A psychological assessment service initiated by Cruz's mother, Henderson Behavioral Health (HBH), show high school resource officer and Sheriff's deputy Scot Peterson along with two high school counselers recommending that Cruz be committed for mental evaluation under Florida's Baker Act - which allows for the involuntary commitment of a person for at least three days.
Peterson resigned after his failure to enter the building as shots rang out.
Florida law would have allowed Peterson to initiate Cruz's commitment under the Baker Act.
Cruz, 19, faces the death penalty for the February 14 muder of 17 students and teachers, and the wounding of 17 others alleged in a 34-count indictment. Cruz's public defender Melisa McNeill says he would seek a life sentence in exchange for a guilty plea if convicted.
The documents from HBH reveal that Cruz's mother Lynda had fresh concerns about Nikolas's mental state after he punched holes in the wall. After staff from the behavioral clininc came to interview Cruz and the family, Cruz admitted to punching holes but said he did so over breaking up with his girlfriend. He also admitted to cutting his arm with a pencil sharpener.
After a Sept. 28, 2016 interview, the documents say Cruz “reports that he cut his arms 3-4 weeks ago and states that this is the only time he has ever cut. (Cruz) states that he cut because he was lonely, states that he had broken up with his girlfriend and reports that his grades had fallen. (Cruz) states that he is better now, reports that he is no longer lonely and states that his grades have gone back up.”
He also told the clinician he owned only a pellet gun and was not capable of doing “serious harm” to anyone. -AP
Authorities had ample warning about Cruz...
In February, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) Friday that the FBI never contacted Google - which owns YouTube, after it was reported that suspect Nikolas Cruz, under his own name, said "I'm going to be a professional school shooter" in a YouTube video comment last September.
When the uploader of the video, Ben Bennight, contacted the FBI shortly after Cruz left the comment, officials spoke with him for 20 minutes, after which there was no follow up until the same agent or agents came to his home on Wednesday.
In a press conference late last week, Special Agent Robert Lansky who is in charge of the Miami FBI division said that the FBI received the tip, however they were "unable to further identify" the person who made the comment, despite conducting "database reviews" and "checks."
"No other information was included with that comment, which would indicate a time, location or the true identity of the person who made the comment," Lasky said. "The FBI conducted database reviews, checks, but was unable to further identify the person who actually made the comment."
Had they simply followed up, the FBI would have also discovered from Florida's state social services agency that Cruz intended to buy a gun, or that he had been cutting his arms on snapchat.
FBI investigators could have then called the Broward County Sheriff's department and found out about the 23 timesdeputies responded to Cruz's home over a seven year period for emergencies including a "mentally ill person, " "child/elderly abuse", "domestic disturbance," and "missing person."
The last call received by Broward County Sheriff's office on November 30, was a warning a caller who warned that Cruz is collecting guns and knives. Concerned he will kill himself one day and believes he could be a school shooter in the making."
To top things off, a young woman close to Cruz warned the FBI she was concerned he would "get into a school and just shoot the place up," according to a leaked transcript of her call to the bureau's tip line one month before the massacre.
You know, its just so much, said the caller. I know he's going to explode. The woman said she was making the call because she wanted a clear conscience if he takes off and, and just starts shooting places up, according to the transcripts which were reviewed by the Wall Street Journal.
Two different people specifically told authorities from two different agencies that Cruz might shoot up a school, and the school resource officer who fled the shooting failed to have him committed to a psychiatric unit.
Furthermore, had Cruz been properly arrested and prosecuted for holding a gun to his brother and mother's head, threatening them - he would have likely been charged with a felony, and also been unable to legally obtain weapons.
And sadly, student "puppets" from Parkland have been trotted out on national television to discuss gun control, not mental health, after what was perhaps the world's most preventable school shooting.