The motive for the Florida school shooting remains unclear, but some of the social media posts of accused school shooter Nikolas Cruz are getting attention, in particular a profile picture with a “MAGA” hat on Instagram. The slogan stands for “Make America Great Again,” which is President Donald Trump’s signature campaign motto.
The posts on the two Instagram pages attributed to Cruz appear fixated on weaponry, not politics, though.
The MAGA hat makes an appearance in a profile picture on one of the Instagram pages that Heavy has verified belonged to Cruz, 19, an expelled student who is accused of going on a rampage with an AR-15 weapon. On the page with the MAGA hat, the accused school shooter went by the handle @nikolascruzmakarov; MAGA stands for the slogan “Make America Great Again” and is President Donald Trump’s campaign motto. Makarov is the name of a Russian-made pistol.
President Trump expressed prayers for the victims. “My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting. No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Just spoke to Governor Rick Scott. We are working closely with law enforcement on the terrible Florida school shooting.”
To be clear, authorities have not said that politics played any role in the shootings. They have indicated that they are not certain of the motive, and those who knew Cruz described him to various Florida and national media outlets as an odd loner obsessed with guns. His social media pages focus on weaponry, both guns and knives. However, the MAGA hat is one detail in the fuller biography of the accused shooter, and the social posts, in totality, help give a picture of the man.
Some people argued on social media that Cruz was actually a registered Democrat based on the voter registration of a Nicolas Cruz in Florida whose birthday is in May 1998. However, the Broward sheriff said in a press conference that the Nikolas Cruz accused of being the school shooter was born in September 1998, not in May (you can watch that comment below). The accused school shooter’s name is spelled Nikolas, not Nicolas, although many in the news media initially went with the latter. The New York Times also verified Cruz’s Instagram page.
The Daily Beast reported that, according to Ocean Parodie, 17, “Cruz always had his hair short and had a penchant for wearing patriotic shirts that ‘seemed really extreme, like hating on’ Islam…The suspected gunman would also deride Muslims as ‘terrorists and bombers.’” Parodie also told Daily Beast: “I’ve seen him wear a Trump hat.”
The suspect posted on Instagram about a Google search for the phrase “Allahu Akbar” in 2015 but the caption said, “Well at least we now know what it means when a sand durka says ‘allahu Akbar’ ??????”
Some people have been using that post to argue the suspect supported ISIS or Islamic terrorism, but the post showed he was joking about terrorism and wanted to kill terrorists. He wrote: “Durka durka Mohamed jihad .. how do I work this oh oh I mess up cooo booom!!…durka durka … bam boom explosions,” and included a series of bomb smilies. The Sheriff said it’s too early to say whether there was a terrorism motive, but authorities haven’t found anything pointing to that. They have not yet released a motive. The alleged shooter was previously expelled from the high school in Parkland, Florida for disciplinary reasons.
One man posted a video in which he claimed that the FBI had visited him about Cruz. The man said in the video that, in September 2017, he took a screenshot of a comment on one of his videos on YouTube. It came in under the name Nikolas Cruz and said “I am going to be a professional school shooter.” He reported the comment to YouTube and tried to email it to the FBI to no avail. Two FBI agents did come to talk to him, he says in the video.
The suspect made disturbing posts on Instagram and the pages attributed to him are filled with photos of guns. He posted a photo of a dead toad and wrote, “These things killed my dog. So I kill them pretty much. #killingtoads.” His Instagram profile contained the word: “Annihilator.” Cruz posted a series of photos of weapons with a message about shooting being a form of “group therapy” for him. Some news sites initially gave the suspect’s name as Nicolas de Jesus Cruz or Nicolas Cruz. He is also called Nick Cruz by some people who knew him.
You can read more about Nikolas Cruz here: