Caregivers of Florida shooter unaware he was a monster

A couple who took Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz into their home say they weren't aware they had a "monster" living under their roof.

Kimberley and James Snead took in the 19-year-old killer last November shortly after the death of his mother who had adopted him, which left him without parents.

Ms Snead, a neonatal nurse, and Mr Snead, an army veteran and military intelligence analyst, told the South Florida Sun Sentinel: "We didn't see this side of him."

Five days before the shooting, Ms Snead had taken Cruz to her therapist's office after the couple observed that he was "extremely depressed".

Cruz was allowed to store his guns, including the rifle he used to kill 17 people, in a safe in his bedroom in the couple's home.

He was told he could only take out the guns if he had permission and he had asked to take them out twice since moving in. The couple said yes on one occasion and no on another.

Mr Snead thought he had the only key to the safe, but now believes Cruz had kept a key for himself.

The couple said Cruz did not know how to cook, do laundry or clean up after himself, and seemed to be "naive, but not dumb".

The family enrolled Cruz in adult education classes in their district, and drove him to school each day. 

On the day of the massacre - February 14 - he told the couple he was staying home as he didn't go to school on Valentine's Day.

Later that day, he took an Uber ride to the murder scene at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

During the shooting, Mr Snead began receiving calls asking where his son was.

He informed police that Cruz was not his son and only while driving to the school to pick up one of his own children did he realise that Cruz was the shooter.

The couple picked up their own son from the Broward Sheriff's office, where he had been questioned and then released in relation to the shooting.

While at the office, they saw Cruz led into the building in handcuffs and Ms Snead tried to run at him but her husband held her back.

"Really, Nik? Really?" she yelled at him.

"He said he was sorry," Ms Snead told the South Florida Sun Sentinel. "He apologised. He looked lost, absolutely lost.

"And that was the last time we saw him."


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