Nikolas Cruz, the man who murdered 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday, was staying with the family of a friend at the time, and they've come forward to share their story, revealing that Cruz texted his friends minutes before the shooting began.
The Snead family took Cruz in around Thanksgiving, according to an interview with the Sun Sentinel. Cruz was staying with a family friend after his mother had died on Nov. 1, but he didn't like it there. The Sneads' son asked if his friend could move in, and the family didn't hesitate.
The Sneads' son was still a student at Stoneman Douglas High, where Cruz had been expelled in the spring. It's unclear how long they had known each other and how close they really were, but the Sneads said they had few warning signs about what Cruz was capable of.
Cruz reportedly sent a few texts to the Sneads' son on the day of the shooting. He left the house around 10 a.m., according to Kimberly Snead. He texted his friend to ask what classroom he was in, saying he was going to see a movie.
Later, Cruz texted that he had "something important" he wanted to tell the young Snead. Shortly after he wrote "Nothing man."
It has since been determined that those texts were sent while Cruz was in an Uber, headed for the school. His last text was sent as he arrived. It simply read, "Yo."
The Snead family told the interviewer that much of what they've heard about Cruz in the past several days is new information to them. They found it hard to believe that he had a history of cruelty towards animals, as he had reportedly loved their pets. They said he was compliant and rule-abiding in their strict household.
James Snead believed he'd had the only key to the gun safe he'd made Cruz purchase. He had no idea that Cruz had made a copy for himself.
The family are some of the few people to have seen Cruz since the shooting took place. The 19-year-old was arrested not far from the school within two hours of the first shots fired. They encountered him at the Broward Sheriff's headquarters, where they went to pick up their son, who was being questioned.
Cruz was led into the building under a heavy guard, wearing a hospital gown. Kimberly Snead reportedly tried to charge him, but her husband held her back.
"Really, Nik? Really?" she reportedly yelled.
"He said he was sorry. He apologized. He looked lost, absolutely lost," James told reporters. "And that was the last time we saw him."