These were more of the signs that were overlooked, or just ignored.
Maybe it’s because this is what teenagers do. Maybe this part seemed almost “normal,” but 3 former classmates of Nikolas Cruz are telling of their experiences with the Parkland high school shooter.
The three students, Dana Craig, 16; her boyfriend, Matthew Rosario, 16, and Enea Sabadini, 17 say that there was trouble with Cruz, after Sabadini began dating his ex-girlfriend.
Sabadini and Cruz got into a fight, and that may have been one factor that led to Cruz being expelled in 2017 from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Another report is that he showed up at the school with a weapon or ammunition in his backpack.
Either way, he was flagged as a threat.
“Im going to watch ypu bleed,” read an Instagram message sent under Cruz’s name to Enea in 2017, when students said Cruz was no longer at the school. “I am going to shoot you dead.” Another message said Enea “stole my ex.”
The FBI’s reaction to reported concerns about Cruz was botched.
The Broward County Sheriff’s office received around 20 calls and nothing came of it.
President Trump tweeted out that it was important for friends and neighbors to report such actions, again and again.
“Personally, I don’t think he should say that. [Trump] doesn’t know the whole story,” Enea told BuzzFeed News. “We tried.”
What follows was a twisted teen drama, where Dana and Matthew were connected to Cruz through a friend of Dana’s, who was dating Cruz.
After telling Dana that Cruz was abusive, she suggested the friend break up with him.
Cruz apparently blamed Dana for causing the break-up.
He made Dana and Matthew nervous, because he had guns and let everyone know about it.
In 2016, Dana began getting threatening messages from the ex-girlfriend’s Instagram account. She knew Cruz had access to the account, and the messages didn’t sound like her friend.
“I’m going to get you and I’m going to kill you because you took this person away from me. I’m going to kill your family,” Dana remembered the messages saying. Dana no longer has the messages because they were removed using Instagram’s “unsend” direct message function. Two classmates and one adult — who didn’t want her name used because she didn’t want to get in trouble with her job — told BuzzFeed News that Dana told them about the troubling messages at the time.
She reported him to a security specialist at the school, Kelvin Greenleaf, and showed him the messages.
Cruz was later expelled.
Also around that time, Enea began talking with, then later dating Cruz’s ex-girlfriend.
He also began to get threats.
The messages, he said, came from a handle that included the name Nikolas Cruz. They were persistent, he said, with Cruz saying he would beat him up and demanding that he stop talking to his ex-girlfriend. Enea said he no longer has these messages because he deleted them after Cruz was expelled in 2017. “I thought there was no use to keep them anymore,” he said.
In the first week of the new school year, Enea said Cruz apologized to him in person. Cruz “said ‘you could have [her],’” according to Matthew, who said he was present when this happened.
It wasn’t long before the threats and harassment began again. Much like it was with Dana, they would often come from the ex-girlfriend’s Instagram account.
The messages were mostly “along the lines, I’m going to beat you up and everything,” Enea said. Dana and another friend told BuzzFeed News they knew about the messages at the time, and the friend encouraged Enea and Dana to report them to the school.
This time, they filed written reports with Greenleaf.
They also spoke with Peter Mahmood, head of the JROTC.
In September 2016, things escalated and there were two fights between Cruz and Enea.
The first fight began as an argument on the sidewalk next to their school. Nikolas yelled “Stop talking to her!” Enea said. Enea said he responded: “No, I’m not going to stop talking to her.” Matthew said he witnessed this fight.
Enea said Cruz ran at him. “While he was chasing me down the street, he also called me a nigger multiple times,” Enea said. “He was also trying to stab me with pencils.” Cruz couldn’t catch him, and Enea said he taunted him. “I remember telling him that I was a gazelle, because I was much faster than him,” he said.
Enea also said he doesn’t think Cruz disliked him because of his race. “I don’t think he was mad at me about race. But I don’t get why he was so mad over a girl,” he said.
The second fight happened in the school courtyard, during lunch.
Cruz threw a water bottle at Enea, then charged him. Enea was able to get the better of Cruz and took him to the ground, punching him in the face several times.
That fight earned both of them suspensions, Enea said. His mom, he said, was mad he was suspended “for defending himself.”
Matthew, Dana, and two of their friends who witnessed the fight confirmed the details to BuzzFeed News. Matthew, Dana, and one of the witnesses said they complained about it to administrators. “I remember when the fight happened, I went and I said, ‘I know that he’s brought weapons to school. You need to take his bag. You need to check it,’” Dana said.
Matthew said that he was called in to discuss Cruz “overall” with Greenleaf about a week after he filed a report about the fight.
Matthew said Cruz whispered threats to him in his fifth-period engineering class. “I turned around. He would be staring, or I don’t know how to explain it, whispering threats,” Matthew said.
“It would be like: ‘I hate you,’ and ‘I’ll kill you,’ he said.
Cruz kept his distance, after the suspension, but according to Enea, would still flip him off, from a distance.
In August 2017, he began getting threatening messages from an Instagram account with the name @nikolasjacobcruz. He believed that to be Cruz’s account.
The messages to Enea said, “I am going to enjoy seeing you down on the grass,” “Im going to watch ypu bleed,” “iam going to shoot you dead,” and included a photo of guns.
Messages also said Enea “stole my ex” and named the ex girlfriend, saying that she “mean everything to me.”
Two other Instagram accounts, @NikolasCruzMakarov and @cruz_nikolas, belonged to the shooter and were removed by the platform. Instagram did not immediately respond to a question about whether or not @nikolasjacobcruz was removed for the same reason.
Enea provided screenshots of the messages to BuzzFeed News. Dana remembers Enea telling her about the DMs, at the time he received them. Enea said it didn’t concern him, because Cruz had been expelled by this point. “I was like, I don’t have anything to worry about,” he said.
Kids don’t really think that far in advance, but it does seem these kids tried to take the right steps.
You can see all of Cruz’s threatening messages, as well as Enea’s amazingly calm replies here.