The family who recently took in accused Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz say they are “heartbroken” and didn’t know about his darker impulses.
In a series of interviews with The New York Times and Good Morning America, James and Kimberly Snead – the parents of one of Cruz’s friends, who took him in after the death of his mother – said that they had no inkling that Cruz was violent, or has a criminal past.
FULL INTERVIEW: “I still can’t believe what he’s done.” The family that took in the Florida shooting suspect speaks out, sitting down with @michaelstrahan in their first TV interview since the shooting: https://t.co/ACQcOyfQRq pic.twitter.com/axoxIzYEvf
— Good Morning America (@GMA) February 19, 2018
“We didn’t know he had such an evil past,” Mr. Snead told the NYT. “We just didn’t know.”
Going on, he said that he wanted to give Cruz a chance:
We knew he had troubles and a couple of issues, but I’ve raised three boys, and I thought we could help. It’s a very selfish thing he did — aside from the families he hurt, he hurt the family that tried to help him and give him a chance.
The couple confirmed that they were not the anonymous tipster who told the FBI that Cruz had guns and the desire to kill. The FBI has admitted they did not properly follow up on that tip.
Mr. Snead says that he made Cruz keep his guns locked up in a safe, but was under the impression that he had the only key. According to his account, Cruz had kept another key which allowed him to access the gun safe without Mr. Snead’s knowledge.
The Sneads believed that, though Cruz had a troubled and difficult adolescence, he was nonetheless improving, and that “things were good.”
When Cruz was arrested, he was taken to hospital to treat minor injuries, then to the Broward Sheriff’s Office headquarters. The Sneads were already there, as their son was talking to police. Mrs. Snead says she spoke briefly to Cruz.
“Really, Nik?” she says she asked. “Really?”
Mr. Snead reports Cruz said he was sorry.