The students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas have been speaking up about their former classmate, Nikolas Cruz, who killed 17 people on campus on Feb. 14.
Six Stoneman Douglas High students have spoken to Buzzfeed News since the attack. They include Dana Craig, 16; her boyfriend, Matthew Rosario, 16; and Enea Sabadini, 17, as well as three others who asked to remain anonymous.
All of the students agree that Cruz's rage at the school was fueled by his break-up in 2016. Cruz had dated a friend of Craig, who attended another school. Craig explained that Cruz was possessive, obsessive and even abusive.
Craig said that she was always wary of Cruz, because "he had guns and weapons and we all knew about it." Cruz's long-time obsession with firearms was corroborated by many people in the Parkland, Florida community.
Cruz's girlfriend broke up with him in spring of 2016, at which point Craig said she began getting threatening messages online, which she believed came from Cruz.
"I'm going to get you and I'm going to kill you because you took this person away from me. I'm going to kill your family," Dana remembered the messages saying. She no longer has them, because the sender deleted them using Instagram's "unsend" feature.
Craig says that she and her friends all reported Cruz for his threatening messages on several occasions.
In August of 2016, Sabadini began dating Cruz's ex. He, too, began receiving threatening messages online, some of which have also been deleted.
In the first week of school, Sabadini says that Cruz approached him to apologize. He "said 'you could have [her],'" according to Rosario, who claims to have witnessed the encounter.
Not long after, the messages returned. Craig and Sabadini once again filed written reports with the school. They also spoke to the head of the JROTC program at the school, which Cruz was a part of.
Within the first month of the school year, Sabadini says he had two physical confrontations with Cruz. The first took place on the sidewalk just outside the school. Cruz demanded that Sabadini stop seeing his ex-girlfriend. When Sabadini refused, Cruz rushed him.
"While he was chasing me down the street, he also called me a n— multiple times," Sabadini said. "He was also trying to stab me with pencils."
Sabadini says that, despite Cruz's racial insults, he doesn't think that's why he was being attacked. "I don't think he was mad at me about race. But I don't get why he was so mad over a girl," he said.
Towards the end of September of 2016, they had their second fight. "My friends and I were laughing. Talking to each other, laughing and everything, and as we're talking a water bottle flies by. I remember it going right between my legs," Sabadini said. Then Cruz "charges me and hits me in my left arm."
Sabadini says he pinned Cruz to the ground and punched him repeatedly in the face. "I was just done," he told reporters. "I can't believe you actually decided to fight me during lunch. I really don't want to have any problems with [this] guy. Can we just get over the situation already?"
Both Cruz and Sabadini were suspended over the fight. Craig, Rosario, and others filed yet more reports with the school, telling them that Cruz owned various weapons and had sometimes brought them to school. None of them know how seriously their tips were taken, or exactly why Cruz was finally expelled in the spring of 2017.
By the end of December of 2016, Sabadini said that he and Cruz's ex had stopped dating. However, in August of 2017, he received a whole new string of threatening messages from Cruz.
"Im going to watch you bleed," reads one of the Instagram direct messages. He continues "iam going to shoot you dead."
Screenshots of the entire conversation were published by Buzzfeed News. Cruz makes it extremely clear that his rage is centered around the break-up, and he intends to hurt Sabadini. Sabadini says that he felt no need to report the threats because Cruz had already been expelled.0comments
"I was like, I don't have anything to worry about," he said.
Cruz is charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder, and is expected to plead guilty. He's being held without bond.