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Prosecutors on Wednesday released hours of video interrogation of Florida’s school shooting suspect, footage showing the young man slouching in a chair, being repeatedly urged by a detective to speak louder and punching himself in the face when he is alone.

The footage contained the same material as a transcript released earlier in the week, and both were edited to remove what authorities say was a direct confession by Nikolas Cruz to the Feb. 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

In other developments, a sheriff leading the state commission investigating the massacre said Wednesday that the suspect’s behavior before the shooting was a “roller-coaster,” where he would have stretches of good conduct before it deteriorated.

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri told the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission that Cruz’s fluctuating behavior through the years made it difficult for school officials to determine how he should be handled. Cruz, a 19-year-old former student at Stoneman Douglas, is charged with killing 17 people in the Valentine’s Day attack.

“It was really a roller-coaster with Cruz really from birth,” Gualtieri said.

A report released last week by the Broward County school district said he began showing behavioral issues that got him kicked out of pre-kindergarten. He spent his school years shuttling between regular campuses and those for children with emotional and behavioral problems.

“He had some really bad low times but at times he was without behavioral issues,” Gualtieri said.

The video made public Wednesday shows Cruz hunched over at times, leaning back at others. He is seen wearing hospital clothes and speaking so softly at the beginning that Broward Sheriff’s Detective John Curcio has to repeatedly urge him to talk louder. Shortly after entering a small interrogation room, the detective asks Cruz: “You all right? Got to be able to speak so I can hear you.”

At one point, with the police out of the room, the video shows Cruz take two fingers, put them to his left temple and pretend to pull a trigger. He gave a little shake after doing this. Later, he is seen punching himself hard in the face with both hands and occasionally scratching at his right arm with a small object he picked up off the floor.

A portion of the video is here. (Note: The content may be disturbing for some viewers.)

Much of the interrogation focused on a demonic voice Cruz claims he has heard inside his head for years that urges him to commit violent acts. When asked what the voice usually said, Cruz answered, “Burn. Kill. Destroy.” He also said the voice told him to cut himself.

At another point with Curcio out of the room, Cruz mutters, “Kill me,” and then, later, “I want to die.”

At yet another, Cruz cries as his 18-year-old brother, Zachary, embraces him during a visit.

Earlier, at Wednesday’s public safety commission session, Gualtieri said there were times in middle school and at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that Cruz’s behavior “dive-bombed,” and he required an escort to monitor him.

Gualtieri didn’t go into details Wednesday, but it has been previously reported that Cruz got into fights, committed vandalism, cursed teachers and drew a swastika on his backpack. Administrators conducted a threat assessment of him in 2016, about five months before he was kicked out of the school.

The 14 appointed members and five ex-officio members will learn more about Cruz’s educational, mental health and medical history during a closed session Thursday as they conclude their monthly two-day meeting.

The commission must file a report with its findings of what led to the shooting and recommendations for system improvements by Jan. 1. Commission members include law enforcement and educational officials, mental health professionals, a legislator and two parents of students who died in the attack.

Guy Grace, the security head for the Littleton, Colorado, school district, presented the commission Wednesday with suggestions for improving safety at Florida’s schools. He said his district boosted security after the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School that left 13 dead plus the two student attackers. He said measures can range from high-tech solutions such as camera systems that can alert monitors to potential problems to simply making doors easier to lock. Stoneman Douglas teachers complained after the shooting that their classrooms couldn’t be locked from the inside — they had to go into the hallway with a key.

Grace said his district has also issued devices to all staff members allowing them to initiate a lockdown at their schools.

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Rich

    August 10, 2018 at 12:13 am

    This guy is a cold, calculating murderer who planned this attack for months – HE KNEW EXACTLY WHAT HE WAS DOING!!
    The cops were called to his home 39 times!!

    There are over 370 “mental disorders” listed in the latest version of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.) The list includes “Tobacco Addiction Disorder” among other equally mundane and ridiculous so-called “mental illnesses.”
    If the DSM is the standard by which politicians wishes to remove our rights to own guns, then I’d guess 90% of the American people could probably be classified with a mental disorder of one kind or another.
    BEWARE, BEWARE

    • roberta gabor

      August 10, 2018 at 11:24 pm

      I think he is very disturbed and tormented. I think it is sad that people with these serious mental problems do not get the help they really need. If he had gotten the help he needed, quite a few other young people would be still alive. This is not the first time something like this has happened. the warning signs are there long before the tragedy in all of these cases and they seem to be largely overlooked and undertreated and so many, many other families have to suffer because of this neglect.

  2. Rich

    August 10, 2018 at 12:24 am

    ‘He Talked About Killing Our Parents, Our Friends’: Shooting Suspect’s Friend Says She Warned School
    A friend of the Florida school shooting suspect told Good Morning America on Tuesday that Nikolaz Cruz talked about killing people regularly and she and others warned the school repeatedly about him.
    From The Hill: “He talked about killing our parents, our friends, boyfriends, and girlfriends,” Ariana Lopez said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
    “He would talk about how he sympathized with Syrian terrorists, and how those who opposed him should be killed. He posted pictures of 15 or more firearms just on his bed,” she added. (police took down these posts)
    What’s important is we don’t let the FBI or any of the agencies who were warned repeatedly about his behavior take the blame for this.

  3. CMarie Tisme

    August 10, 2018 at 12:31 am

    Regardless of how mentally sick this young man is: he’s a killer. This is on the county who let this guy fall through the cracks.

  4. Guy

    August 10, 2018 at 9:07 am

    Everybody knew he was unstable,

  5. plusafdotcom

    August 10, 2018 at 9:18 am

    And the Liberal Left, after watching the videos and reading the article, will still blame the gun for the deaths.

    Morons! Incapable of recognizing a sick mind when they see and hear from one. The real shame is that EVERY possible bit of evidence of his serious illness was ignored or NOT acted upon, get idiots still blame the weapons.

    Critical Thinking is DEAD.

  6. Louis Galmarini

    August 10, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    Hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars, and thousands of hours dedicated to this piece of garbage. Take him out back and put a bullet in his head – DONE!

  7. Moracle

    August 10, 2018 at 4:49 pm

    What really bothers me, which was not reported in this article, is that he asked for help with his mental problems and the school said they couldn’t help him… If some action had been taken after his admission of serious problems and need for help, these 17 lives may have been spared…

  8. brad

    August 10, 2018 at 5:15 pm

    Elephant in the room: what about the teacher who saw a shooter in the hallway with a very high tech rifle raining bullets down the hall as she closed the door to her room and warned her fellow (shot later) teacher across the hall to do the same?
    How about the senior student girl that was evacuating the building WITH THE ACCUSED SHOOTER as shots were fired in another part of the building? She said she got a very strange look from him when she commented that people expected HIM to be involved in anything like that.

    So – Reconcile those things folks. The Sheriff’s Dept standing down – all that mess going on. It does NOT add up well.

    • Rick J Kent

      August 12, 2018 at 3:34 am

      A “Very High Tech Rifle”??? Gimme a break dude, if you know ANYTHING about guns an AR-15 is a .22 on steroids. A .308 is HIGH POWERED, a 12 gauge would’ve done more damage. Please learn about guns before trying to inform us with your no knowledge of them.

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