Health history of accused Florida shooter shows failure of government agencies
(UPI) — Government records show that a number of agencies may have missed warning signs regarding the mental health state of accused Florida shooter Nikolas Cruz.
Cruz, 19, had told health workers he was depressed and planned to buy a gun, according to case notes made public as part of a report released Monday by the Florida Department of Children and Families.
Records reveal that in September 2016, a case was filed with the DCF when Cruz’s caretaker and adoptive mother, Lynda Cruz, was accused of abuse. Cruz was classified as a “vulnerable adult” victim with mental health concerns, including severe depression, ADHD and autism.
The report would normally be kept confidential for privacy reasons but a judge on Monday ordered them to be released, citing Cruz’s right to privacy as “nearly none” after charges of 17 counts of murder.
According to notes in the report, Cruz’s school counselor had noticed a behavior change after the teen had a break up with a girlfriend and that he’d gotten into a fight over the girl. It was also reported to the counselor that Cruz had began cutting himself and had drawn a Nazi symbol on his book bag.
Out of concern, the counselor called a mobile crisis unit. Since Cruz had left school that day, the mobile unit agreed to a follow up at his home.
An investigative summary report said Cruz had been cutting both arms after getting into an argument with his mother.
According to the report, DCF found that Cruz’s mother did not mistreat him and that the teen was not a threat to himself or others. The case was closed Nov. 12 “based on his caregiver’s protective capacity, in-home services through [counseling] and engagement in school.”
The public defender assigned to Cruz’s case has said he hopes the documents would demonstrate “there was a systematic break” and that many agencies failed Cruz by ignoring “the many cries” for help.
The Broward County, Fla., Sheriff’s Department received dozens of calls about Cruz over the years, and former neighbors said his home “stood out for its turbulence on an otherwise-quiet street,” Naples Daily News reported.
Copyright 2018 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.
This content is published through a licensing agreement with Acquire Media using its NewsEdge technology.