Officials recommended forcibly committing Florida shooting suspect in 2016

Officials recommended forcibly committing Florida shooting suspect in 2016

The resource officer in question was former Broward County sheriff's deputy Scot Peterson, who resigned over his failure to confront Cruz during his half-hour assault on the school. But, until today, it was never clear that anybody who had recommended Nikolas Cruz for involuntary institutionalization.

The AP obtained documents in the criminal case against Nikolas Cruz that reveal school officials and a sheriff's deputy thought Cruz should be involuntary committed for a mental evaluation back in September 2016.

The papers also reveal that Cruz told a classmate he wanted to buy a gun and use it, that he wrote "kill" in his notebook and cut his arm because he was angry after he broke up with his girlfriend.

Mr. Cruz denied telling another student that he wanted to use a gun or that he had ingested gasoline, the documents say.

At the time when school officials said they would initiate Baker Act commitment proceedings against Mr. Cruz, he apparently did not own any weapon other than a pellet gun.

Cruz's mother contacted Henderson Behavioral Health to initiate the psychological assessment of her son in 2016, the AP reported.

Counselors at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and a sheriff's deputy recommended that Nikolas Cruz be institutionalized 17 months before his deadly massacre at the Parkland, Florida school, the Associated Press reports.

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Such an involuntary commitment would also have been a high obstacle if not a complete barrier to legally obtaining a firearm, such as the AR-15 rifle used in the Stoneman Douglas massacre on February 14, authorities say.

Investigators are still working to determine how Cruz was able to legally purchase an AR-15 rifle past year, despite numerous red flags.

This recommendation obviously doesn't change anything with regard to Deputy Scot Peterson's cowardice on the day of the shooting.

The documents do not say why Cruz was not committed under the Baker Act or whether he may not have qualified for other reasons.

An attorney for Peterson did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment Sunday.

The federal agency issued a statement on Friday saying that it had been notified about Cruz's "desire to kill people, erratic behavior, and disturbing social media posts". He faces the death penalty if convicted, but his public defender Melisa McNeill has said he would plead guilty in return for a life prison sentence. The clinic sent a mobile assistance team to Stoneman Douglas High on September 28, 2016, the records show, because Mr. Cruz had made threats and exhibited disturbing behavior following a breakup with a girlfriend.

Some of the details in this report, including Cruz cutting himself and drinking gasoline, are not new.

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