‘President Donald Trump wrote online Thursday that there were “so many signs” that the man who killed 17 people inside a Florida high school on Wednesday was “mentally disturbed,” urging Americans to repeatedly report similar individuals to authorities.
“So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!”
It was the third public comment from the president on Wednesday’s shooting by a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, which left more than a dozen people dead and at least 15 wounded. In one Wednesday tweet, the president offered “prayers and condolences” for victims and their families and said that “no child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school. In another online post, he said he has spoken to Florida Gov. Rick Scott about the shooting.
The gunman in Wednesday’s shooting, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, was well known to students and faculty at the high school where he opened fire, having been expelled from it last year, The Washington Post reported. Prior to his expulsion, Cruz had been suspended and barred from carrying a backpack on campus, and had developed a reputation for odd behavior, like selling knives out of a lunchbox and posting to social media about killing animals.
He had previously received treatment at a mental health clinic but had not undergone such treatment, the Post reported, in more than a year.
The Post also reported that fellow students and teachers said Cruz had acted oddly, with one student, Dakota Mutchler saying “I think everyone in this school had it in the back of their mind that if anyone was supposed to do it, it was most likely gonna be him.”
Jim Gard, who taught Cruz, also told the Post that school administration sent out a note to staff asking them to keep an eye on Cruz out of concern. Gard didn’t recall exactly what the concern was.
Former President Barack Obama dropped into the White House press briefing in 2012 to address the nation after a gunman killed 26 people, including 20 children, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
Trump, too, has previously addressed the nation after mass shootings, delivering somber remarks from the White House the morning after a gunman killed 58 people at a music festival in Las Vegas.
White House schedules are often subject to change, but the guidance issued Wednesday night for the president’s Thursday schedule does not include any public appearance where he might make a statement about the shooting.