Friend who took in Parkland shooter says she raised concerns with police over his guns
Posted March 20, 2018 3:47 p.m. EDT
(CNN) — A family friend who cared for Florida shooter Nikolas Cruz said she forbid him to bring his guns into her home and warned police several times she felt he might harm himself or others when she suspected he may have bought a weapon.
Rocxanne Deschamps spoke publicly for the first time about the brief time Cruz and his younger brother, Zachary, lived with her family after the boys' mother died last fall.
Deschamps said her family made three 911 calls during that time. She raised concerns about Cruz owning a gun and also told police Cruz had once put a gun to the head of his mother and brother. Each time, police told her there was nothing they could do about her concerns, she said.
"I did everything I could to warn law enforcement about [what] could happen," she told reporters in a news conference with celebrity attorney Gloria Allred. "I wanted to protect not only my children but also everyone else who might be at risk of being ... harmed."
She added: "I also wanted to protect Nikolas from himself. Unfortunately, although I did everything I could, I was not able to stop this tragedy taking place."
Cruz has confessed to killing 17 students and teachers at his former school, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida, on February 14. He faces 17 charges of premeditated murder in the massacre. He has entered a not guilty plea.
On Tuesday, a judge set a $500,000 bond for Cruz's younger brother, Zachary, on a misdemeanor trespassing charge.
Deschamps said she noticed guns on the floor of a closet in Cruz's room while she briefly stayed with Cruz's mother, Lynda, in October 2016.
She said the guns "were not hunting guns."
"They looked like Army guns," she said. "I saw at least five of them."
"I saw Nikolas playing and cleaning them," she said.
In November 2017, Cruz's mother died after being diagnosed with pneumonia.
Deschamps said it was then she told Cruz not to bring the guns into her house when she began to care for the boys.
She said her son called 911 after her mother, who was also living with her, found a receipt in Cruz's room for a gun and bullets he bought at Dick's Sporting Goods.
"We did not find any guns at that time because he was still on the waiting period to receive the gun, but we were very concerned," she said.
She said she asked police "if we could stop him from getting the gun that he purchased."
"They said they couldn't stop him from buying or having possession of guns," Deschamps said.
She said she also told police that Cruz was 19 years old but she felt he was mentally and emotionally like a 12-year-old.
Deschamps said they called 911 a second time after she and her mother found a hole in the backyard. Nearby was a large empty gun box the same size as the hole.
Deschamps said she was concerned Cruz might have dug a hole for the box and might have put a gun in it.
"For that reason, we called 911. We explained to the officer that Nikolas had purchased a gun and that we were afraid of his intention," she said. "The police said that anyone was allowed to bury a gun and that Nikolas was allowed to do that."
"I was surprised because I thought that guns had to be locked away," she said.
The third 911 call came after Cruz had punched holes in the wall and also hit her son, she said.
"I told the officer that I was concerned Nikolas would come back with a gun," she said.
She also told police "Nikolas has put a gun to his mother's head and his brother's head," she said.
Deschamps said law enforcement told her nothing could be done.
Allred said: "Rocxanne feels the system failed the victims of the Parkland tragedy, even though she did everything that she could to prevent it."
CNN has reached out to the Broward County Sheriff's Office for comment about Deschamps' statements.