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Mental health concerns were raised over Nikolas Cruz long before deadly shooting

Mental health concerns were raised over Nikolas Cruz long before deadly shooting
Nikolas Cruz could still face the death penalty if found guilty (Picture: AP)

Concerns about the mental health of the student accused of killing 17 people at his former high school were raised long before the shooting, it has emerged.

Officials in Parkland, Florida, were so worried about Nikolas Cruz’s mental stability that they decided he should be forcibly committed.

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Doing so would have made it difficult or even impossible for Cruz to legally buy a gun.

However, the recommendation was never acted upon.

Cruz was arrested after 14 people were gunned down at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Valentine’s Day.

Thousands of local students march down Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House to the US Capitol during a nationwide student walkout for gun control in Washington, DC, March 14, 2018. Students across the US walked out of classes on March 14, in a nationwide call for action against gun violence following the shooting deaths last month at a Florida high school. The nationwide protest is being held one month to the day after Nikolas Cruz, a troubled 19-year-old former student at Stoneman Douglas, unleashed a hail of gunfire on his former classmates. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEBSAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
The mass shooting prompted widespread, renewed calls for gun control (Picture: Getty)
PARKLAND, FL - FEBRUARY 14: People are brought out of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after a shooting at the school that reportedly killed and injured multiple people on February 14, 2018 in Parkland, Florida. Numerous law enforcement officials continue to investigate the scene. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images) *** BESTPIX *** Students walking out of the high school after the shooting (Picture: Getty)
FT. LAUDERDALE, FL - MARCH 14: Nikolas Cruz is escorted into the courtroom for his arraignment at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday, March 14, 2018. Cruz is accused of opening fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Feb. 14, killing 17 students and adults. Amy Beth Bennett, South Florida Sun Sentinel, Pool
The revelations about Cruz’s mental health came from court documents (Picture: Getty)

Court documents obtained by the Associated Press show school officials and a sheriff’s deputy recommended that Cruz be involuntarily committed for a mental evaluation in September 2016.

According to the documents, part of the 19-year-old’s criminal case, he wrote the word ‘kill’ in a notebook.

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Cruz also told a classmate he wanted to buy a gun and use it, and cut his arm supposedly in anger after a break-up with a girlfriend.

An involuntary commitment for a mental health examination, as was recommended, could act as a complete barrier towards buying a gun.

The school resource officer who recommended the evaluation was Scot Peterson – who resigned amid accusations he failed to immediately respond to the shooting.

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Cruz is charged with killing 17 people and wounding 17 others.

He faces the death penalty if convicted, but defence lawyer Melisa McNeill said he would plead guilty in return for a life prison sentence.

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