A student who says he was friends with accused Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz said others joked about the possibility of the suspect opening fire in a school after his demeanor seemed to change.
Ethan Trieu, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, said he and Cruz had been friends from middle school to about the 11th grade, and he had noticed a change in the teen.
"People made jokes about Nick, like 'oh he would shoot up a school' but no one thought that would happen," Trieu told reporters outside the school Friday. "As a friend, yeah, I did notice a change, he would just, the change was like he wouldn't just talk as much."
Authorities say Cruz brought an AR-15 rifle to the school Wednesday afternoon, where he killed 17 people before he was taken into custody after he tried to blend in with other students to leave the campus.
Trieu said he saw Cruz as he was evacuating the school, but didn't realize Cruz had been expelled. He said he never thought the teen would be capable of such an act.
"To me, from what I got, he was incredibly nice to me, I just, I can't wrap my head around it," Trieu said.
Trieu said Cruz likely needed support from other students and the community.
"The problem comes from the community, everyone created this because no one really was ever there for him, and someone needed to be there for him and I'm sorry for not being there for him," he said.