At about 2:30 PM Wednesday afternoon, a shooter opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, about 45 minutes north of Miami. Dozens of students were hit, with reports late Wednesday night putting the number of fatalities at 19.
As the shock and horror over today’s massacre begins to fade a bit, the public’s attention inevitably turns from the stats and images to the people involved, both the victims and the terrorist who committed this heinous crime.
The shooter was identified early on as former MSDHS student Nicolás de Jesus Cruz, who authorities had banned from the school after he was flagged for his infatuation with guns and other suspicious behavior.
Authorities have been slow to reveal much more about him than that so for, but bits and pieces of information are finding their way to the surface thanks to intrepid internet sleuths. What they’ve found paint a potentially disturbing portrait of gun nut enraged by progressive social movements and moved to act on his primal, irrational fears of everyone from Black Lives Matter to ‘Anti-fa.’the murderer.
“He always wore like really patriotic shirts that seemed really extreme,” SDHS student Ocean Parodie told The Daily Beast, “like hating on the Islamic religion. For example, he would say things such as like, he would degrade Islamic people as terrorists and bombers. I’ve seen him wear a Trump hat.”
Alt-right social media trolls are so worried about the narrative developing that Cruz carried an act of far-right terrorism that they’re circulating a photo of him wearing a shirt with communist iconography as proof that he’s somehow a part of the far left. But it’s not working.
There’s no confirmation that Cruz is the man in the photo. Also, the shirt isn’t an endorsement of communism; it’s a parody of it. The figures all have ridiculous hats and their holding red solo cups.
And then there’s the issue of his name. Initial reports called him Nicolás de Jesus Cruz, but later reports used “Nikolaus Cruz” and the more unconventional Nikolas Cruz. The spelling is important, especially at this early stage, because it helps us understand a little bit more about him.
Little social media activity was initially uncovered for “Nicolás de Jesus Cruz,” but that might have to do with the confusion with the spelling of his name.
Twitter user @sloppysteve420 decided to search less conventional “Nikolas Cruz” and found numerous disturbing comments on police videos and other similarly violent footage posted to a Russian You Tube clone site called ruClips.com.
We must state again that these posts have not been definitively attributed to the Cruz who committed today’s atrocity, but the peculiarly spelled name, as well as the content of these comments matching what many students of the school have told authorities, seems to be strong indications that they were posted by him.
You can read them for yourself below.