School shooting suspect ‘sympathized with Syrian terrorists’

School shooting suspect ‘sympathized with Syrian terrorists’

Classmate of Nikolas Cruz, accused of murdering 17 in Florida, says he would talk about killing parents, friends

Ariana Lopez, a former friend of Nikolas Cruz, speaks to ABC's 'Good Morning America' on February 20, 2018. (Screen capture: YouTube)
Ariana Lopez, a former friend of Nikolas Cruz, speaks to ABC's 'Good Morning America' on February 20, 2018. (Screen capture: YouTube)

A classmate of Nikolas Cruz, who is accused of murdering 17 people in a Florida school last week, said Tuesday that he spoke of his sympathy for Syrian terrorists.

Ariana Lopez told ABC News that at first Cruz seemed normal. But very soon his behavior became “disturbing.”

“He would tell me about his mom and his brother,” she said of Cruz when she first met him. However he moved on to acting abnormally. “He used to sell knives out of his lunchbox, which I thought was insane,” she said. “You can’t have knives, this is a school. He was like, ‘Hey guys, want some knives?'”

She told the news network that Cruz spoke of murder, and also of his sympathy for terrorists.

“He talked about killing our parents, our friends, boyfriends and girlfriends,” Lopez told the news network. “He would talk about how he sympathized with Syrian terrorists and that people who opposed them should be killed. He posted pictures of like 15 or more firearms just on his bed. Like this was normal. Like you could even see a hamper in the background. That’s how ordinary this was to him.”

Lopez said she and others reported Cruz to school officials on several occasions.

Footage has surfaced of a 2016 fight between Cruz and another boy. Lopez said that fight was over a girl, and his mistreatment of her.

“He would hit her. He would threaten her. He would threaten her family and her friends for talking to other guys,” she said.

Lopez said she knew Cruz was the shooter even before it was announced.

“I knew it. We all did. Everybody who knew him. We knew it.”

Nikolas Cruz appears in court for a status hearing before Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, February 19, 2018. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, Pool)

Cruz, the 19-year-old charged with killing 17 people on Valentine’s Day at his former high school, has been described by students as a loner with troubling behavior who had been kicked out of school. His mother recently died and Cruz had been staying with family friends.

Since the attack, students from the school have become increasingly vocal in their demands for gun-control measures. Many have pointed out politicians who take financial support from the National Rifle Association, and some have lashed out at US President Donald Trump, saying he was busy blaming Democrats for failing to pass gun restrictions while taking no action of his own.

A hundred students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were busing hundreds of miles across Florida to its capital Tuesday to urge lawmakers to act to prevent a repeat of the massacre last week.

After arriving late Tuesday, they plan to hold a rally Wednesday in hopes that it will put pressure on the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature to consider a sweeping package of gun-control laws. Shortly after the shooting, several legislative leaders were taken on a tour of the school to see the damage firsthand and appeared shaken afterward.

Chris Grady is a 19-year-old senior on the trip. He said he hopes the trip will lead to some “commonsense laws like rigorous background checks.”

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