‘No idea we had a monster under our roof’ say couple who took in Florida gunman

In this Feb. 17, 2018 photo, Kimberly and James Snead recount the day of the shooting at Marjory Stonemason Douglas High in Parkland, Fla., where 17 people were killed in a mass shooting. The Snead's, who had taken suspected gunman Nikolas Cruz in their home after his mother died, told the Sun-Sentinel newspaper they had no idea the extent of Cruz's issues. (Susan Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)
Updated 19 February 2018
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‘No idea we had a monster under our roof’ say couple who took in Florida gunman

WASHINGTON: The couple who took in Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz after his mother's death have described him as quirky but pleasant and seemingly on the right track, saying they had no idea they had a "monster living under our roof."
Cruz, 19, moved in with James and Kimberly Snead of Parkland, Florida in late November after his adoptive mother died earlier that month from complications of pneumonia, they told the South Florida Sun Sentinel in an interview published Sunday.
He was a friend of their son.
Prone to odd eating and sleeping habits and unused to any form of housework, he was nevertheless making progress in dealing with his grief and kept himself busy with adult education classes along with his job at a discount store, the couple said.
"I told him there'd be rules and he followed every rule to the T," James Snead, 48, an army veteran and military intelligence analyst, told the paper.
"We had this monster living under our roof and we didn't know," added Kimberly Snead, 49, a neonatal nurse. "We didn't see this side of him."
Cruz killed 17 people at his former high school last Wednesday using an AR-15 rifle that he had legally purchased. It was the country's worst school massacre since the horror at Sandy Hook six years ago that left 26 dead.
He also owned several other guns including two other assault rifles as well as knives, according to the Sneads who own firearms themselves and did not find this unusual.
And his ultimate aim was to join the army and become an infantryman, something he had become excited about after a recent meeting with a military recruiter.
A profile has emerged of a troubled young man who was expelled from school last year for "disciplinary reasons."
The FBI admitted receiving a detailed warning last month about Cruz's gun ownership, erratic behavior, and disturbing social media posts, as well as the potential for him carrying out a school shooting.
The agency took no action, despite the tip-off.
Cruz was also known to police after his mother repeatedly reported him for violent outbursts, while records obtained by the same newspaper showed authorities investigated Cruz in 2016 after he cut his arms on messaging app Snapchat and threatened to buy a gun.
But he was eventually deemed a low risk and later passed a background check, allowing him in February 2017 to buy the AR-15 rifle used in the massacre.
The Sneads said it appeared he had grown up without ever having to do common chores -- he couldn't cook, do laundry, pick up after himself or even use a microwave.
"He was very naive. He wasn't dumb, just naive," James Snead told the Sun Sentinel.
Cruz had quirky habits, like putting a chocolate chip cookie on a steak and cheese sandwich, and going to bed at 8:00 pm.
He seemed lonely and badly wanted a girlfriend, and was also depressed about the death of his mother, the couple said.
Kimberly Snead had taken Cruz to the office of a therapist just five days before the shooting, and he had said he was open to therapy if his medical insurance would cover it.
Cruz told the Sneads he would inherit at least $800,000 from his parents, with most of the funds becoming available when he turned 22 -- and the claim appeared to be borne out by paperwork the couple have subsequently seen, they said.
On the day of the attack, Cruz sent several text messages to the Sneads' son, who was still studying at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
In one, he asked what classroom the boy was in, adding in another that he had "something important" to tell him. But he then wrote: "Nothing man."
The couple last saw Cruz at the Broward County Sheriff's office. Dressed in a hospital gown, he was handcuffed and surrounded by deputies.
"He said he was sorry. He apologized. He looked lost, absolutely lost," said James Snead. "And that was the last time we saw him."


After the hurricane comes the deluge on South Carolina coast

Updated 13 min 34 sec ago
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After the hurricane comes the deluge on South Carolina coast

GEORGETOWN: Eleven days ago, Lee Gantt was at a Hurricane Florence party in her neighborhood in Georgetown, where the story goes that some houses haven’t flooded from the Sampit River since they were built before the American Revolution.
She will spend Tuesday with sandbags, watching the nearby river rise from Florence’s heavy rains and seeing if the luck finally runs out on her home built on Front Street in 1737.
“We thought this might be coming. We just left everything up above the floor just like from the hurricane. I’m nervous. Can’t you see me shaking?” she said, stretching her arms out.
The Sampit is one of five rivers that reach the Atlantic Ocean in and near Georgetown on the South Carolina coast. And Hurricane Florence — which started with record rainfall in North Carolina — is expected to cause record flooding downriver in Georgetown County as its final act. So much water is coming that it is backing up other rivers that aren’t even flooding.
The county has recommended almost 8,000 people leave their homes — more than 10 percent of the population. Officials expect floodwaters to top several bridges, nearly cutting Georgetown County in two and leaving only one highway out during the expected crest early Thursday.
The deluge has made its way so slowly down the Lumber, Pee Dee and Waccamaw rivers that the state last week released detailed maps on where it expects flooding. Upstream in Horry County, the floodwaters have invaded close to 1,000 homes near Conway as the Waccamaw River was slowly making its way to a crest a full 4 feet (1.2 meters) over its record level set just two years ago after Hurricane Matthew.
But in North Carolina, Gov. Roy Cooper said it was time to start concentrating on recovery. “Florence is gone but the storm’s devastation is still with us,” Cooper said at a news conference.
About 400 roads across North Carolina remained closed due to the storm that’s claimed at least 46 lives since slamming into the coast Sept. 14. Crews have reopened the major highways closed in the storm. Interstate 95 was reopened to all traffic Sunday night for the first time since the floods, and Cooper said Monday that a previously closed portion of Interstate 40 had reopened sooner than expected.
Power outages and the number of people in shelters also were declining. Around 5,000 people were without power, down from a peak of about 800,000, and about 2,200 people were in shelters, compared with a high of around 20,000, the governor said.
In Washington, lawmakers considered almost $1.7 billion in new money for disaster relief and recovery. And the economic research firm Moody’s Analytics estimated that Florence has caused around $44 billion in damage and lost output, one of the 10 costliest US hurricanes. The worst disaster, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, cost $192.2 billion in today’s dollars. Last year’s Hurricane Harvey cost $133.5 billion.
Down in Georgetown County, it is a disaster nearly two weeks in the making. Georgetown County spent days under hurricane warnings before Hurricane Florence made landfall about 110 miles (175 kilometers) up the coast near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.
The worst of the storm stayed well north, causing only minor flooding in Georgetown and some downed limbs.
“We had a hurricane party,” Gantt said. “Now I don’t know what to do.”
Several blocks up Front Street, the main business district was busy, but with people leaving. All along the sidewalk were piles of artwork, antiques, and boxes as owners emptied out their inventory to take to higher ground.
Tomlinson department store sent an empty truck normally used to stock stores and employees rushed to fill it with everything. The store has never flooded, but predictions call for up to 5 feet (1.5 meters) of water by Thursday. “The anticipation has been nerve-wracking. Though, I’m glad we had the time to do this,” said district manager Kevin Plexico.
Georgetown was positioning ambulances and firetrucks in the busy, tourist section along the beaches in case the floods cut off the US Highway 17 bridges as expected. National Guard troops were prepared to float more equipment across the river if needed. Exhausted emergency officials said they have lived nothing but Florence for more than two weeks.
“The work has been done,” Georgetown Mayor Brendon Barber said. “We just need to pray.”