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.
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.
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.
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.
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.