FT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – The couple who took in the confessed Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter has returned to South Florida early Wednesday morning.
James and Kimberly Snead insist Nikolas Cruz, 19, showed no warning signs that he was about to do harm to himself or others. They said the person who went to his former school and killed 17 people was not the man that they knew.
“We didn’t know anything like we know now. He moved into our house and there were rules that he had to follow. He followed them, he was respectful, he was nice. He loved our animals and our animals loved him. Everything we hear now is not the Nik we knew,” said James Snead.
Cruz moved in with the Sneads after his mother died. The Sneads said taking him in was the right thing to do.
They said they didn’t know about his social media posts which paint him as a racist ‘professional school shooter’.
“We knew the one Instagram page that my son followed but we didn’t know the other multiple pages he had where he was putting up all of those pictures,” said Snead.
James Snead said he knew Cruz had guns and was comfortable with him having them in the home as long as they were kept locked up.
“We’re not afraid of guns. I respect guns, I was in the military so I know how to use guns. One of the stipulations of him moving in was that he had to get a gun safe before he moved in,” said Snead.
Snead said he’s seen the reports that Cruz had 10 guns, but he denies that. He said up until the time of the shooting he thought he was the only one who had a key to that safe.
Snead said in the hours after the shooting the family received a call from the FBI about Cruz, he said that’s when they realized he was the suspected gunman. He sent his son home to check on his wife and because he feared for her safety.
“If he was willing to do that, there’s no telling what he would have done to us,” said Snead.
Snead said while they were aware Cruz was depressed there were never any warnings that he was about to carry out a mass shooting. Snead’s son was friends with Cruz and the entire family feels angry, like they were duped.
Snead said they believed they were helping a troubled young orphan who was grieving over the loss of his mother. He said Cruz told his wife in the weeks before the shooting, “It was the happiest he’d ever been.”
Snead said he has nothing to say to Cruz and declined to say what he believes his punishment should be.