The family that took in Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old gunman alleged to have carried out one of the most deadly school shootings in U.S. history last week, appeared on Good Morning America Monday to talk about their time under the same roof as the killer.
The Snead family has spoken out about the massacre to the Florida press, maintaining they knew nothing of his violent tendencies and made him keep his gun, an AR-15 assault rifle, locked in a safe.
The interview with GMA is the first appearance the Snead family has made on television since police said Cruz opened fire at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 people and wounding more than a dozen others.
Cruz moved in with the Snead family after his adopted mother died in November. He was friendly with the Snead’s son, and the family helped him enroll in adult-education classes and get him a job as a cashier at the local Dollar Tree store.
James and Kimberly Snead detailed their experience with Cruz, who they said respected the rules of their home and was respectful — despite many of his acquaintances telling reporters and authorities of his violent behavior and disturbing social media posts.
James said he realized what Cruz had done after the SWAT team called him, mistaking Cruz for his son.
The Sneads were then taken to the police station, and apparently crossed paths with a handcuffed Cruz.
“I went after him,” Kimberly recalled from the station. “I really wanted to strangle him more than anything. And I just, everything that I wanted to say — I tried to reserve myself. I said, ‘Really, Nik? Really?’ I yelled at him. He mumbled something, but I didn’t hear. He said he was sorry.”
“He said he was sorry,” James confirmed.
“But I didn’t hear that, Kimberly said. “I was just furious.”
GMA’s Michael Strahan asked about the couple’s son, and James said he is “angry, he’s betrayed, he’s upset.”
“He had friends at that school,” James said, before adding that Nikolas had sent texts to his son the day of the shooting.
Later in the segment, the Sneads claimed they were unaware of Cruz’s disturbing social media accounts, and that they made him keep his guns in a safe:
Kimberly added she wouldn’t have let anyone in her house that had tortured animals.
“Nothing I can say will heal them,” James said when asked if they have a message to the families who have lost children to the shooting.
“We’re devastated, and I can’t imagine the pain they must be feeling,” Kimberly added. “We’re very sorry that they had this experience. It never should have happened.”
Watch both parts of the interview above, via ABC News.
[image via screengrab]
Have a tip we should know? firstname.lastname@example.org