The couple who housed Nikolas Cruz is speaking out about the “monster” who lived under their roof prior to his confessed shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday.
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
Kimberly and James Snead, took in the 19-year-old suspect after his adopted mother died of pneumonia in November.
The couple said Cruz, a former student of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, normally drives into his current school with James but opted not to attend on the morning of the shooting.
“He said he didn’t go to school on Valentine’s Day,” James recalled to Good Morning America host Michael Strahan on Monday.
The couple said aside from choosing to skip school that day, they noticed no other unusual activity by Cruz ahead of his suspected attack on students and staff.
“The SWAT team called me and asked if I knew where my son Nikolas was. And I said, ‘He’s not my son but I don’t know where he’s at,’” James said. “And at that point I got in touch with my son, who was fleeing the scene at that point, and a description came out and we put two and two together — me and my son — and we figured out what was happening."
James and Kimberly said that while they attempted to get him counseling after the death of his mother, Cruz showed no signs to them that he would be capable or interested in carrying out any attack on the school.
“Everything everybody seems to know, we didn’t know,” James said, referencing Cruz's apparent affinity for killing animals and using his guns and knives, as shown on his social media accounts. “We had rules and he followed every rule to a T.”
The couple took Cruz into their home at the request of their son, who was a friend of the suspected shooter. The Sneads said their son, who attended the high school on the day of the attack, is having a difficult time processing what happened on Feb. 14.
“He’s angry, he’s betrayed, he’s upset. He was at school too and he had friends at that school," the parents said.
Cruz sent text messages to their son on the day of the shooting, the Sneads said: “[Cruz] told my son he was 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 said, ‘Nothing bad bro.”
"The last text my son got was, ‘Yo,’ and that was it and that was about 2:18,” the family revealed.
The shooting began just ahead of the afternoon dismissal bell, when Cruz allegedly pulled the fire alarm to gather students into the hallways before opening fire with an AR-15.
The family is cooperating with police, their lawyer Jim Lewis said, and they are heartbroken for the families of the 17 victims in the Parkland, Florida, shooting.
“We’re devastated and I can’t imagine the pain [victims' families] must be feeling and nothing we can say is going to be any kind of help, but we’re very sorry that they’ve had this experience and it never should’ve happened," Kimberly said. "If we had known any of the things we are hearing… we feel betrayed as well and just shocked. It’s crushed everybody in our community."