In a Manhattan press conference on Tuesday, the neighbor who took in alleged Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz and his brother Zachary after their mother died, said that she warned authorities about the 19-year-old’s fixation on guns. Roxanne Deschamps sat with her attorney Gloria Allred and explained how she feared for her safety and the safety of her family.
According to the New York Daily News, Deschamps insisted that she had done all she could to get help with the the troubled young man. When she moved the brothers into her home along with their dogs, the 42-year-old woman told Nikolas that he could not bring any weapons with him. Before their mother Lynda Cruz died from pneumonia complications on Nov. 1, Deschamps had promised to take them in if she didn’t live.
But Deschamps was well aware that Nikolas had once pointed a gun at his mother’s head and she had seen his arsenal of weapons first-hand. He promised that he would not bring guns into her home. The brothers lived with Deschamps in her trailer for about a month and during that time she called the police on three different occasions. The last call was made after Deschamps’ mother, who also lived with the family, found Cruz’s receipt for a recent gun and ammunition purchase.
Deschamps claims that the police told her “nothing could be done.” The 42-year-old gave Cruz an ultimatum and he chose to leave. Deschamps said that Cruz went to live with a friend and that she did keep in touch with him.
She wanted to “protect Nikolas from himself,” but Deschamps said that she had to put her and her family’s personal safety first. Cruz was later arrested for allegedly murdering 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, but Deschamps said there was nothing else she could do to stop it.
In a curious turn of events, Deschamps filed a petition seeking control of Nikolas’ inheritance on the day after the Feb. 14 massacre. Newsweek reported that his share of Lynda’s estate was at least $800,000. Deschamps argued that because she was still caring for 17-year-old Zachary, she should be allowed to manage the brothers’ financial affairs.
Zachary, now 18, has since been arrested for trespassing on the Douglas High School campus and is being held on a $500,000 bond. He was taken into custody Monday evening and is reportedly being held at the same jail where Nikolas is being housed. Because of a “red flag law” signed by Gov. Rick Scott, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office is seeking to have Zachary committed to a mental health hospital for evaluation. They also hope to secure an order barring him from purchasing or possessing firearms.