Nikolas Cruz was part of a private group chat on Instagram, where the 19-year-old reportedly bragged about buying body armor in case of "school shooters" before he attacked his former high school.
Cruz has confessed to taking 17 lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday in Parkland, Florida. Cruz had been expelled from the school almost a year earlier for threatening other students. He entered the school earlier this week in a Stoneman Douglas JROTC shirt carrying an AR-15 assault rifle.
In the aftermath, people and journalists have been combing through Cruz's substantial trail on the Internet and social media, look for clues that were missed. Reporters from CNN managed to get access to a private group chat on Instagram, of which Cruz was a member.
The other five members of the group chat wouldn't confirm their ages or identities, though CNN reports that they're all likely 18 or under.
The chat contains hundreds of racist, anti-Semitic, misogynistic and homophobic tirades, with Cruz at the center of many of them. The chat was also a place where they discussed the purchase of firearms, weapons and accessories. At one point, Cruz picked up a pay check and told his friends that he was going to use it for some body armor.
"Guys I got paid $330. I am buying body armor," he wrote. He went on to ask if anyone knew whether it was legal to wear body armor to school. One of his online friends asked why he would want to do that.
"School shooters," Cruz replied.
Cruz did acquire the body armor. He posted a photo of his receipts in the group chat, showing that he'd gotten a $30 discount and free shipping. He also added a couple of mirror selfies in the armor, one of which shows him in full camouflage fatigues, a bandanna tied over his nose and mouth, and a sideways orange hat.0comments
"He seemed nice but also had some mental issues," one member said. "All [I know] is that he likes guns and really hates liberals."