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Family that took in shooting suspect after death of his parents speaks out

PARKLAND, FL (AP/WCMH) — The 19-year-old suspect in the Florida school shooting that killed 17 people didn’t know how to use a microwave, didn’t pick up after himself and didn’t know how to do his own laundry.

Kimberly and James Snead took him in following his mother’s death, and spoke to the Sun Sentinel .

The paper published a story Sunday about the family, who said that what Nikolas Cruz did baffles them.

“We had this monster living under our roof and we didn’t know,” Kimberly Snead told the newspaper. 

The Sneads’ son had asked if Cruz could move in with them after Cruz’s mother died last November.

They made Cruz buy a locking gun safe to put in his room the day he moved in. Cruz had a handful of guns, including the AR-15 and two other rifles that James Snead said would be considered assault rifles. Cruz, a hunter, also had knives, BB guns and pellet guns.

Snead thought he had the only key to the cabinet but has figured out Cruz must have kept a key for himself. The family kept their own rifles, bought after a burglary a couple of years ago, in a separate locked cabinet.

They told Cruz he needed to ask permission to take out the guns. He had asked only twice since November. They said “yes” once and “no” once.

Kimberly Snead said she took Cruz to a therapist five days before the shooting. He took a business card and was figuring out what his health insurance could cover, according to the Sun Sentinel. The Sneads insisted Cruz take adult education classes and drove him to school every day. He did not have a car, but rode a bicycle to work at a nearby Dollar Tree.

According to records obtained Sunday from the state Department of Children and Families, when Nikolas Cruz was a student at Westglades Middle School, he was constantly in trouble for insulting teachers and staff, using profanity, disruptive behavior, unexcused absences and at least one fight.

His mother was called in more than a dozen times for conferences and Cruz was frequently sent to counseling.