Nikolas Cruz confesses to Florida high school mass murder, telling officers details of attack - report

A Broward County Sheriff's Office report says Nikolas Cruz confessed to being the shooter at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

According to the report, he told interrogating officers that he "began shooting students that he saw in the hallways and on school grounds" yesterday.

The report adds that Cruz told officers he "brought additional loaded magazines to the school campus and kept them hidden in a backpack until he got on campus to begin his assault."

Cruz told investigators that as students began to flee, he decided to discard his AR-15 rifle and a vest he was wearing so he could blend in with the crowd. Police recovered the rifle and the vest.

The police report adds that Cruz purchased the rifle in February 2017, but does not say where it was purchased.

Earlier:

Clad in an orange jumpsuit and handcuffs, suspected Florida high school shooter 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz made his first appearance in court today. 

He has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder. 

Inside the mind of a mass murderer: Nikolas Cruz adopted, then orphaned, labelled 'weird' and a 'loner' even by his friends

A Florida judge has ordered he will be held without bond on 17 counts of murder. Cruz's attorney did not contest the order and had her arm around him during the brief court appearance.

It is alleged he took an AR-15 into Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school and began gunning down people.

Seventeen people died in the fatal shooting. 

The state of Flordia still has the death penalty, with 348 offenders currently on death row, according to Florida Department of Corrections. 


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Inside the mind of a mass murderer: Nikolas Cruz adopted, then orphaned, labelled 'weird', 'loner' even by friends

Students and neighbors describe the suspect in the deadly rampage at a Florida high school as a troubled teenager who threatened and harassed peers, talked about killing animals, posed with guns in disturbing photos on social media, and bragged about target practice in his backyard with a pellet gun.

Nikolas Cruz, 19, had been expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School for "disciplinary reasons," Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said, but he insisted he didn't know the specifics.

School had sent out an email warning teachers that Cruz shouldn't be allowed on campus with a backpack

First clear picture of Florida high school shooting suspect, Nikolas Cruz, as he hwas taken down by police outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Source: WSVN-TV

Math teacher Jim Gard told the Miami Herald that before Wednesday's fatal shooting of 17 people, Cruz may have been identified as a potential threat - Gard 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 paper.

Student Victoria Olvera, 17, said Cruz had been abusive to his ex-girlfriend and that his expulsion was over a fight with her new boyfriend.

He'd been attending another school in Broward County since the expulsion, school officials said.

Jonathan Guimaraes, 17, told the Miami Herald that he had been in JROTC with Cruz.

That's how he was able to blend in

"He was quiet, nice," Guimaraes said. "That's how he was able to blend in. He was wearing his JROTC uniform."

Cruz had on a maroon polo shirt bearing an ROTC insignia and the school's eagle mascot when he was arrested Wednesday.

His mum died on November 1

Cruz was an orphan - his mother, Lynda Cruz died of pneumonia November 1 neighbors, friends and family members said, according to the Sun Sentinel.

Cruz and her husband, who died of a heart attack years ago, adopted Nikolas and his biological brother, Zachary, after the couple moved from Long Island in New York to Broward County.

The boys were left in the care of a family friend after their mother died, family member Barbara Kumbatovich, of Long Island, said.

Unhappy there, Nikolas Cruz asked to move in with a friend's family in northwest Broward.

The family agreed, and Cruz moved in around Thanksgiving.

According to lawyer Jim Lewis, who represents but did not identify the family, they knew that Cruz owned the AR-15 but made him keep it locked up in a cabinet and never saw him go to a shooting range with it.

He did have the key, however.

The family is devastated and shocked

Cruz passed a background check and legally purchased the assault weapon from a licensed dealer in February 2017, a law enforcement official familiar with the investigation but not authorised to discuss it publicly told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. The family is devastated and shocked, lawyer Lewis said.

During the three months Cruz lived there, he was respectful and quiet but also sad over his mother's death, Lewis told The AP.

"No indication that anything severe like this was wrong," Lewis said. "Just a mildly troubled kid who'd lost his mom. ... He totally kept this from everybody."

The family's son was a junior at the school and was there when the shooting happened, Lewis said.

The family is cooperating as their home is searched and no one there is suspected of wrongdoing, he added.

Longtime Cruz family neighbors Malcolm and Christine Roxburgh told the Sun Sentinel that the police came to the boy's house many times, as he used to get in trouble and harass people.

Malcolm Roxburgh said a neighbor across the street kept pigs, and Nicolas Cruz targeted the family.

"He didn't like the pigs and didn't like the neighbors, so he sent over his dog over there to try to attack them," Roxburgh said.

His wife said she once caught Nikolas peeking in her window."I said, 'What are you doing here?' He said he was looking for golf balls.

I said, 'This isn't the golf course,'" she said.

And, the couple said, when the boy didn't want to go to school, he would bang his head against a cement wall.

They were scared of him.

"He could have killed any of us," Christine Roxburgh said.

Cruz was getting treatment at a mental health clinic for a while, but hadn't been there for more than a year, Broward County Mayor Beam Furr said during an interview with CNN.

"It wasn't like there wasn't concern for him," Furr said.

'In this case, we didn't find a way to connect with this kid'

"We try to keep our eyes out on those kids who aren't connected ... Most teachers try to steer them toward some kind of connections. ... In this case, we didn't find a way to connect with this kid."

Officials said they're dissecting the suspect's disturbing social media posts, without elaboration. But peers said they recognized Cruz from an Instagram photo posing with a gun in front of his face.

The students called Cruz "weird" and a "loner" - even those who'd been friendly with him said they hadn't seen him in more than a year since his expulsion.

Dakota Mutchler, 17, recalled Cruz posting on Instagram about killing animals and said he had talked about doing target practice in his backyard with a pellet gun.

"He started going after one of my friends, threatening her, and I cut him off from there," Mutchler said.

He said students weren't surprised officials had identified Cruz as the shooter:"I think everyone had in their minds if anybody was going to do it, it was going to be him," Mutchler said.

But Broward County School District Superintendent Robert Runcie said he did not know of any threats posed by Cruz to the school.

"Typically you see in these situations that there potentially could have been signs out there," Runcie said.


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McDonald's to axe chocolate milk, cheeseburgers off its Happy Meal to cut down on kids eating rubbish

McDonald's is taking cheeseburgers and chocolate milk off its Happy Meal menu in an effort to cut down on the calories, sodium, saturated fat and sugar that kids consume at its restaurants.

Diners can still ask specifically for cheeseburgers or chocolate milk with the kid's meal, but the fast-food company said that not listing them will reduce how often they're ordered.

Since it removed soda from the Happy Meal menu four years ago, orders for it with Happy Meals have fallen 14 percent, the company said.

Hamburgers and Chicken McNuggets will remain the main entrees on the Happy Meal menu.The Happy Meal, launched nearly 40 years ago, has long been a target of health advocates and parents who link it to childhood obesity.

McDonald's has made many tweaks over the years, including cutting the size of its fries and adding fruit. Most recently, it swapped out its apple juice for one that has less sugar.

It's been especially important as the company tries to shake its junk-food image, since McDonald's is known for getting more business from families with children relative to its traditional rivals, such as Burger King and Wendy's.

McDonald's doesn't say how much revenue it makes from the $3 Happy Meal, but the company said 30 percent of all visits come from families.The latest Happy Meal changes, including new nutritional standards, will occur in the United States by June."

It's a good step in the right direction," said Margo Wootan, the vice president for nutrition at the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

"We would love to see many more restaurants do the same."McDonald's said Thursday that it wants all its Happy Meal options to have 600 calories or fewer and have less than 650 milligrams of sodium.

It also wants less than 10 percent of the meal's calories to come from saturated fat and the same percentage to come from added sugar.

The cheeseburger and chocolate milk didn't meet those new standards, the Oak Brook, Illinois-based company said. It is, however, working to cut sugar from the chocolate milk and believes it'll be back on the Happy Meal menu eventually - but doesn't know when that will happen.

There will be other tweaks: The six-piece chicken nugget Happy Meal will now come with a kids-sized fries instead of a small, lowering calories and sodium from the fries by half.

And bottled water will be added as an option to the Happy Meal menu, but will cost extra.

Currently, the Happy Meal menu lists milk, chocolate milk and apple juice. Soda does not cost extra.

For international restaurants, McDonald's Corp. said that at least half of the Happy Meal options available must meet its new nutritional guidelines.

The company said some are adding new menu items to comply, like in Italy, where a grilled chicken sandwich was added to the Happy Meal menu.

McDonald's Source: Associated Press