What to Know
- Nikolas Cruz is accused of killing 17 people at a Parkland high school.
- He faces 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder.
- The woman who took him in after the Cruz brother's adoptive mother died spoke out.
The woman who took in the Cruz brothers after their mother died last November said Tuesday she did all she could to alert police to Nikolas Cruz’s dangerous behavior, but was told no one could take away his guns.
Rocxanne Deschamps, who befriended the family when they were neighbors in Parkland, said she first grew alarmed by Cruz’s weapons in October 2016.
“I saw guns on the floor in the closet of Nikolas’ room,” she said. “The guns that I observed were not hunting guns. They looked like army guns. I saw at least five of them. The guns looked like assault weapons.”
Speaking at a New York news conference alongside attorney Gloria Allred, she said she took precautions to make sure her family was not around loaded weapons.
One year later, as Lynda Cruz lay in a hospital dying of pneumonia, she said, “the nurse called me and asked me to come and get Lynda’s boys because Lynda did not have much longer to live. I immediately rushed to the hospital and spoke to Lynda and told her I would keep my word and take care of her sons.”
As they gathered items at the Cruz home to take to her home in Palm Beach County, Deschamps said she laid down the law: “I told Nikolas that he was not allowed to bring his guns into my house.”
She says he complied for a while.
But things went downhill after she discovered a receipt for a handgun.
Turmoil ensued, with police being called to her home three times in November 2017. She says each time she was told by police nothing could be done to take Cruz’s guns away.
When Nikolas returned to the house after a fight with her oldest son, “I told him that it was either the gun or us and that he had to choose. He could not have both. He chose the gun.”
While his brother, Zachary, continued living with Deschamps, Cruz moved back to Broward. He stayed with two different families but kept in touch with Deschamps.
“The day before the shooting, Nikolas texted. He was worried about the dogs,” she said.
Deschamps said Cruz was depressed when he lived with her family, but refused to get help or take his medication.
“He said that it didn’t help him and I could not force him to do it because he was an adult,” she recalled.
One thing she knew he shouldn’t have – firearms.
“I don’t know how Nikolas obtained all of the guns that he had, but given the fact that I have reason to believe he was mentally ill, he should never have been able to purchase or have those guns in his possession,” she said. “I did everything I could to warn law enforcement about what could happen …. Unfortunately, although I did everything I could, I was not able to stop this tragedy from taking place.”