Sheriff says he got 23 calls about shooter's family, but records show more

Source: CNN | February 27, 2018 | Curt Devine and Jose Pagliery

Washington (CNN) – As critics have taken aim at law enforcement for missing warning signs about South Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz, public records have emerged that conflict with Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel’s statements about the number of times deputies were dispatched to the shooter’s home.

Records obtained from the sheriff’s office by CNN show the law enforcement agency received at least 45 calls for service relating to Cruz or his brother from 2008 to 2017, before the attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Feb. 14. The sheriff’s office has insisted it received no more than 23 calls for service regarding Cruz or his family.

CNN has repeatedly asked the sheriff’s office to explain the discrepancy, sending emails and attempting to reach an agency representative by phone. The agency has not responded to those requests with an explanation.

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Calls relating to Nikolas Cruz include descriptions of fights with his brother, cursing at his mother, and throwing her against the wall for taking away his Xbox. The issues brought to the sheriff’s attention worsen over time. In 2014, someone accused him of shooting a chicken with a BB gun.

Records show that in 2016, a neighbor warned the sheriff’s office of an Instagram post in which Cruz said he “planned to shoot up the school.” This week, Joelle Guarino told CNN she placed the 911 call and had begged the sheriff’s office to intervene. She was told there was nothing deputies could do until Cruz actually did something, she said.

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On November 1, the day his mother died, Broward Sheriff’s Office received a call from Lynda Cruz’s cousin, who warned deputies that Cruz had rifles and pleaded for them to “recover these weapons.” On November 30, the sheriff’s office received a call from a tipster in Massachusetts who warned them Cruz was “collecting guns and knives,” and “could be a school shooter in the making.” Records show the deputy “referred caller to the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office,” which had jurisdiction over Cruz’s temporary home with a family friend. Within days, Cruz was back south in Broward County staying with another friend’s family.

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