The stories of Parkland, Florida high school shooter being part of a white supremacist group may have been a 4chan hoax, but this is not.
CNN went on a hunt to find out more about who Nikolas Cruz is, researching his now-deleted YouTube account, and that led them to a private Instagram group that was frequented by the 19-year old.
In that group, Cruz didn’t just display a fascination with violence and guns, but also promoted racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic rhetoric.
Cruz seems to have joined the 6-person group in August 2017.
Racism was a constant theme in the chat group, which was called “Murica (American flag emoji) (eagle emoji) great” — a name it was given by Cruz.
The hatred he and others in the group espoused met little resistance from its active members. In one part of the group chat, Cruz wrote that he hated, “jews, ni**ers, immigrants.”
He talked about killing Mexicans, keeping black people in chains and cutting their necks. The statements were not made in jest.
This could almost be written off as irresponsible, ugly juvenile behavior, if not for the fact that he turned out to be a cold-blooded killer.
Of the posts to the group, there were “hundreds” of racist messages and memes.
One member even joked about Cruz’s particular venomousness, saying that although he hated black people, too, he didn’t “to a point I wanna kill the (sic) like nick.”
Cruz said he hated black people simply because they were black; Cruz hated Jews because he believed they wanted to destroy the world.
After one member expressed hatred for gay people, Cruz agreed, saying, “Shoot them in the back of head.”
He also expressed disgust with white women in interracial relationships, calling them “traitors.”
He liked to talk about his guns, or what he called his “arsenal.”
Authorities say he bought 5 guns in the past year, legally.
He also bought body armor, and posted images of himself wearing it.
When it was payday, Cruz let the group know where the money was going to be spent.
“Guys I got paid 330. I am buying body armor,” he wrote.
Cruz did purchase the body armor, according to receipts he posted in the chat — with a $30 discount and free shipping.
Then he asked the group whether it was legal to wear body armor to school.
“School shooters,” he replied, when someone asked why he wanted to know.
Cruz’s bio read, “annihilator,” and at one point, he said to the group, “I think I am going to kill people.”
The group was not amused and told him not to say things like that. He said he was just playing.
During one of the anti-Semitic rants in the chat, Cruz spoke of his birth mother, saying, “My real mom was a Jew. I am glad I never met her.”
Cruz was adopted as a young child by Roger and Lynda Cruz. His adoptive father died in 2004 and his adoptive mom passed away in the Fall of 2017.
In his first message to the chat group, Cruz bragged about writing a letter to President Donald Trump — and receiving a response. CNN reached out to the White House for comment about any correspondence to and from Cruz but has not heard back.
In August 2016, a math teacher, Jim Gard, was told to alert school administrators if Cruz came on campus with a backpack.
They didn’t trust him.
Then, there were the small animals.
He posted several times about killing animals.
He posted a photo on his Instagram account of a disemboweled frog, saying he had killed it because one had killed his dog. In the Instagram chat, he describes killing a number of birds with his gun.
His fellow Instagram group members felt he may have been targeting endangered animals.
“He seemed nice but also had some mental issues,” one member told CNN. “All (I know) is that he likes guns and really hates liberals.”
He was a time bomb that went off, and whether he was a member of a white supremacist group or not, his actions went beyond mere racism.