Nikolas Cruz’s mental health has taken front and center of the headlines as a new report from NBC News revealed that a medical facility was called in to assess his mental stability but decided against hospitalizing him in 2016.
According to NBC News, experts from South Florida’s Henderson Behavioral Health were called to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland to hold a psychiatric evaluation of the 19-year-old accused gunman in 2016.
At the time, an unidentified individual called the mental health agency under the Baker Act—a law that allows authorities to detain persons of interest against their will for up to 72 hours for adults and 12 hours for minors.
After assessing Cruz’s results, Henderson Behavioral Health ultimately decided against hospitalizing him. Based on a November 2016 investigative report filed by the Florida Department of Children and Families (FDCF), Nikolas Cruz’s mental health was called into question after he reportedly expressed his plan “to go out and buy a gun,” as well as a Snapchat video showing him cutting his own arms.
Following news about the tragic Florida school mass shooting on February 14 where a total of 17 people was killed, alleged gunman Nikolas Cruz’s mental health and family background became the subject of numerous headlines.
According to ABC News, he was involved in a number of violent incidents in school, and one of these instances was caught on camera. In the September 20, 2016 clip acquired by ABC affiliate WPLG, Cruz joined is seen wearing white printed T-shirt, khaki pants, and a dark bandana tied around his neck while fighting with other boys in the courtyard of the Parkland high school.
Meanwhile, Lynda Cruz, his deceased adoptive mother, told mental health experts in 2016 that Nikolas suffered from ADHD, autism, and depression but have since received all prescribed medications, NBC News reported.
The FDCF report indicated that his clinician from Henderson “stated that there are no issues with [Cruz’s] medication and he has been compliant with taking his medication and keeps all of his appointments.”
Even so, Cruz’s mother revealed that her son displayed self-harm tendencies after he cut himself following a breakup. She also revealed that he had broken a house rule about shooting his air gun “within the backyard at the targets.”
Nikolas Cruz’s mental health might play a critical role in his trial as several reports are now dubbing him as a “broken child,” as described by his defense attorney, that became a mass killer.
In a CNN report, it was also revealed that he made disturbing comments about a New York shooting incident involving a disgruntled doctor who used an AR-15 to shoot and kill seven people, saying, “Man I can do so much better.”
The report also noted how the defense seemed to be leaning on the mental illness argument to save him from going to prison as he reportedly suffered from chronic depression that was recently triggered by tragic events in his life, including the death of his adoptive mother.