The Stoneman Douglas High School shooter was living with some family friends up until the day he walked into his former school he had been expelled from and opened fire in a fit of rage which had been building for months, if not years. 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz had been taken in by the couple after his adoptive mother died of pneumonia in November, according to The Palm Beach Post. Her death left both him and his 17-year-old brother, set to turn 18 next week, as orphans. Despite Nikolas being a legal adult, he wasn’t a stable one, and apparently, neither was his brother who was just taken into custody on Sunday afternoon from a separate foster family’s home and involuntarily admitted into a mental health facility.
Nikolas planned his horrific attack for months under James and Kimberly Snead’s home, after he was kicked out of his another caretaker’s home for not giving up his gun, Palm Beach Postreported. The Sneads knew Cruz was collecting weapons in mass and addressed it with him by asking that he just store them in a locked safe. However, that’s not all that happened in the horrifying months leading up to one of the deadliest school shootings in our nation’s history. The Sneads just made a shock admission on live televisions that’s answering some questions the FBI apparently doesn’t want anyone to know.
The Sneads are an accomplished, seemingly well-established pair who thought they were doing the right thing for a teen who had nowhere to go and had suffered the loss of both his father and his adoptive mother in a relatively short time. The couple’s teen son had urged his parents to take his friend in to help him out. According to BizPacReview, James Snead, 48, is a decorated Army veteran and military intelligence analyst and his 48-year-old wife, Kimberly Snead, is a neonatal intensive care nurse. However, the couple insist that they “didn’t know” about Cruz’s dark side.
Speaking distraught and shocked, Kimberly told the reporter, “We had this monster living under our roof and we didn’t know. We didn’t see this side of him.” James second that sentiment saying, “Everything everybody seems to know, we didn’t know. It’s as simple as that.” However, they described some really strange behavior of Cruz’s they saw along the way that should have led them to question this kid and perhaps look a little more into who was living in their home. Despite the extremely odd things they witnessed him do regularly, James said that he just thought Cruz was a naïve teen, but it looks like the same could possibly now be said of the couple who took him in.
Mr. Snead described Cruz as “very naïve. He wasn’t dumb, just naïve.” The young man reportedly had odd eating habits, such as putting chocolate chip cookies in his steak and cheese sandwiches. He typically went to bed at 8pm.
The Sneads also said Cruz didn’t know how to cook, use a microwave, or do laundry when he first moved in. They told the Sun Sentinel he was extremely depressed about his mother’s death.
Five days before the shooting, Kimberly Snead accompanied Cruz to a therapist’s office. He told her he was willing to receive therapy, but did not want medication.
The couple said they allowed Cruz to keep his guns in the house, but under strict rules. The firearms were stored in a locked cabinet and the teenager had to ask permission to take them out.
James Snead thought only he had the key to the cabinet, but now believes Cruz must have obtained his own copy. According to the Sneads, Cruz had only asked to take his guns out twice since November. They said “yes” once and “no” once.
The couple didn’t see the shooting suspect exhibit any signs of animal cruelty, of which he has been accused by others. The Snead family owns two dogs and seven cats.
At 2:30pm pm on Wednesday, the Sneads’ panic-stricken son called James and told him of the shooting. He and classmates had jumped a fence and escaped into a neighboring middle school.
It’s easy for others not in the position that the Sneads were and are now in, to question how they did things in their home. They did have a rather passive approach to this teen they were housing out of compassion for his situation, which was perhaps because he was distraught by his mother’s recent death and they didn’t want to push him.
However, without him knowing, they could have and should have searched his social media, as a preventive approach to protect themselves and their family – and ultimately an entire school full of innocent people. While it’s not always the case that killers make their intentions known on social media, it was evident in Cruz’s scenario. Also, a background check before or after letting him live with them would have also been effective.