PARKLAND (CBSMiami) – Nikolas Cruz ordered an Uber to pick him up on Valentine’s Day around 2 p.m., investigators say, as he planned a deadly attack at his former high school.
The Uber driver said she arrived at a location on Loxahatchee Road in Parkland, the area where Cruz was living, and picked up Cruz, who climbed in the back seat carrying a big object.
“I saw him with a backpack which I thought was a guitar case. He told me I am going to my music class,” said the Uber driver who asked CBS 4 News to conceal her identity.
The driver thought nothing of it and headed to Cruz’s destination — Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The driver asked that we not show her face or use her name.
She did however share her thoughts on the 13 minute drive she gave the man who would soon be known around the world accused of carrying out one of the nation’s deadliest school shootings.
The driver said Cruz appeared calm and quiet in her car.
“Just a normal person,” she said. “I didn’t see anything strange or something like that, no.”
She said the drive was unremarkable.
“He didn’t say anything to you? Give you any inkling that he was going to go do something like this?” a reporter asked.
“Nothing, nothing, nothing,” the driver said.
After Cruz emerged from the car, investigators believe it took him mere minutes to enter the freshman building on campus and begin his assault.
The Uber driver went on her way, never imagining the man in her car possessed deadly intentions.
“I saw the news and I thought ‘Oh, I just left someone over there,’” she remembering thinking.
A short time later she received a call from the Broward Sheriff’s Office. They reassured her that she wasn’t in trouble.
“Don’t be afraid,” she recalled hearing over the phone. “You have nothing to do with this.”
But they did want to search her car for clues. She said they found nothing.
Like everyone touched by this violence, this woman said she’s dealing with sadness and grief…and questions about her security.
“I have passengers in my car and I’m scared because anybody can have a gun,” she said.
This wasn’t her last brush with the Stoneman Douglas shooting. She said a few days after the violence she picked up a fare headed to a funeral for a victim.
“I made an Uber and I went to a funeral and I started to cry,” she said. “I don’t know. I feel involved with all this tragedy.”
The driver said she doesn’t speak much to her passengers because she doesn’t speak fluent English and that’s one of the reasons why she didn’t converse much with Cruz.
Court documents show that Broward Sheriff’s detectives searched the Uber driver’s car looking for bullets, guns, writings by Cruz or anything else that might be connected to the shooting.
It appears they didn’t find anything like that. They did however swab the rear passenger handle where the driver says Cruz was sitting.