The Instagram footprint of Nikolas Cruz is still being uncovered, one day after Nikolas opened fired on his former classmates at a high school in Parkland, Florida. Eagle-eyed viewers noticed that Nikolas was wearing a red “MAGA” hat in one of the Instagram profile photos in a defunct Instagram account, and such an observation caused a flurry of speculation over whether or not the Instagram account really belonged to Cruz. Nikolas was indeed pictured wearing a red “MAGA” or “Make America Great Again” pro-President Donald Trump hat on his now-deleted Instagram account, Snopes reports.
Taking a methodical approach to research date stamps on the Instagram photos and comparing them to the testimonies of Cruz’s former classmates, Snopes confirmed that more than one Instagram account belonged to Nikolas, with Cruz’s avatar showing him in a red “MAGA” hat with a scarf wrapped around his face.
Whereas the publication shot down rumors about Nikolas being a DACA dreamer and a registered Democrat, it gave the coveted “true” stamp to the notion that Nikolas wore a hat bearing President Trump’s famous “MAGA” slogan. As reported by TMZ in the below video, Cruz also was spotted wearing a “MAGA” hat during target practice.
That profile photo of Cruz in the “MAGA” hat appeared on the Instagram account “NikolasCruzMakarov,” an Instagram account that was not a hoax account created after the tragic shooting.
Instagram implicitly confirming that an account with a MAGA Trump hat avatar belonged to gunman Nikolas Cruz. Asked why the account was removed, spokesperson says: pic.twitter.com/LdXb73iCj8— Jon Swaine (@jonswaine) February 15, 2018
The Instagram account named “cruz_nikolas” was also attributed to Cruz in addition to the “nikolascruzmakarov” account, with the social media site allowing users to set up multiple accounts. As reported by Heavy, the “nikolascruzmakarov” Instagram account had been verified by their publication, and Nikolas’ “cruz_nikolas” Instagram page was confirmed as his by students, as reported by the Miami Herald.
Did the Florida mass shooter's Instagram profile image feature a "MAGA" hat? https://t.co/HScUsB9AXL— snopes.com (@snopes) February 16, 2018
Jon Swaine, a senior reporter for the Guardian, published the above tweet, confirming Instagram’s implicit confirmation of the Instagram account with the red MAGA Trump hat worn by Nikolas by explaining why they deleted Cruz’s Facebook and Instagram accounts.
“We have found and immediately deleted the shooter’s accounts on Facebook and Instagram.”
The Broward Sheriff’s Office also confirmed the “nikolascruzmakarov” Instagram account belonged to Nikolas by describing content that referred to the dead lizards pictured thereon. The name of the Instagram account relates to the alleged shooter’s name combined with a type of weapon.
"Two classmates said he wore a Make America Great Again hat in school."— Mikel Jollett (@Mikel_Jollett) February 15, 2018
Nikolas Cruz, who killed 17 in Florida yesterday, was a terrorist in a MAGA hat.https://t.co/ZeY78Hx902
Date stamps from July 2017, not subject to Photoshop, prove that the Instagram account wasn’t created after the shooting. At least one former classmate reported seeing Cruz “wear a Trump hat.”