Nikolas Cruz: ‘We had this monster living under our roof and we didn’t know.’
When James and Kimberly Snead welcomed Nikolas Cruz into their Parkland home, he was immature, quirky and depressed but pleasant, they told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in an exclusive interview Saturday.
Cruz still lived with the Sneads on Wednesday when he killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
“We had this monster living under our roof and we didn’t know,” Kimberly Snead told the Sun-Sentinel. “We didn’t see this side of him.”
The Sneads’ son invited Cruz to live with them last Thanksgiving after Cruz’s mother, who had adopted him, died of pneumonia, leaving him without parents.
They made Cruz buy a locking gun safe to put in his room. He had a handful of guns, including the AR-15 and two other rifles.
The couple also told Cruz he had to take adult education classes. He seemed to be doing well, they said.
“What else could this family have possibly done to put this young man on the right track?” said their attorney, Jim Lewis. “They tried to do a good deed and it went horribly wrong for them.”
On Wednesday morning, Cruz told them he didn’t need a ride to school: “It’s Valentine’s Day and I don’t go to school on Valentine’s Day,” he said.
He said he was going fishing instead.
But around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, the Sneads’ son called them in a panic. There was a shooting on campus. As James Snead drove to the school, police called him asking where his son Nik was. Snead told him Nikolas wasn’t his son and he didn’t know.
Later, after Cruz was captured.
Kimberly yelled to him, “Really, Nik? Really?”
“He said he was sorry. He apologized. He looked lost, absolutely lost,” said James. “And that was the last time we saw him.”