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What we know about ‘troubled’ Florida shooting suspect

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Nikolas Cruz, 19, is in custody accused of massacring 17 people, including students and teachers, at a high school in Florida.

Cruz is suspected of going into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Wednesday afternoon, armed with at least one AR-15 assault rifle, a gas mask, smoke grenades and multiple rounds of ammunition.

He raised the fire alarm in order to have people leave classrooms and spill out into the corridor to give him the opportunity to carry out his deadly attack.

:: ‘Outcast’ ex-pupil held after 17 killed in Florida school ‘carnage’

Details have since started to emerge about Cruz, as police reveal details of their investigation and fellow students share stories about their encounters with him.

:: He was expelled from school

Victoria Olvera, a 17-year-old student, said Cruz was expelled last year because he got into a fight with his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend. She said he had been abusive to his girlfriend.

A former friend, Dakota Mutchler, said he hadn’t seen him in more than a year after his expulsion before which “he started progressively getting a little more weird”.


Pic: Alexander Ball



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School survivor: Everyone was scared

:: People ended friendships with him

Students who knew him described a volatile teenager whose strange behaviour had caused others to end friendships with him.

:: “Very disturbing things have been found”

Police say they are beginning to “dissect” Cruz’s internet history and social media.

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel described some things they had already found as “very, very disturbing”.

Soon after the arrest of the suspect, YouTuber Ben Bennight recounted an apparent run-in with Cruz on his account.

The vlogger said an account in the same name as the suspect left a comment on one of his videos several months ago saying he wanted to be a “professional school shooter”.

Mr Bennight, who runs the account Benthebondsman, reported the comment to the FBI, who interviewed him about it. He said he received a call from FBI agents after Cruz’s arrest, but the agency has not confirmed this.

The FBI has not confirmed the account was linked to Cruz.

The suspect in the Florida school shooting is led into hospital
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The suspect in the Florida school shooting is led into hospital

:: He was “troubled”

Chad Williams, an 18-year-old at the high school, remembered Cruz as a troubled classmate from middle school.

He said Cruz would set off the fire alarm, day after day, and finally got expelled in the eighth grade.


Teachers and students hide as police search the school. Pic: Ericka Duval



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Students and teachers hide in school

:: “He was crazy about guns”

Chad saw Cruz carrying several publications about guns when they met by chance at the high school recently. He thought Cruz was there to pick up a younger brother or sister.

“He was crazy about guns… he was kind of an outcast. He didn’t have many friends. He would do anything crazy for a laugh, but he was trouble.

“I think everyone had in their minds if anybody was going to do it, it was going to be him,” Victoria Olvera said.


Students raise their hands as armed police enter a classroom. Pic: Alexander Ball



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Armed police enter classroom

:: He was banned from bringing his backpack into school

“There were problems with him last year threatening students, and I guess he was asked to leave campus,” Maths teacher Jim Gard told the Miami Herald.

:: He was part of the US military-sponsored Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corp

Jillian Davis, 19, says Cruz was part of the programme as a high school freshman.

Davis is a graduate and former fellow JROTC member.

The suspect posed for guns on social media Pic:Instagram/cruz.nikolaus
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The suspect posed with guns on social media. Pic:Instagram/cruz.nikolaus

:: He was calm during his arrest

Cruz was taken into custody without a fight about an hour after the shooting.

Michael Nembhard was sitting in his garage on a cul-de-sac when he saw a young man in a burgundy shirt walking down the street. In an instant, a police cruiser pulled up, and officers jumped out with guns drawn.

“All I heard was ‘Get on the ground! Get on the ground!'” Nembhard said. He said Cruz did as he was told.

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Tokyo Olympics: Opening ceremony was ‘respectful, hopeful but sombre night’ | World News

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Olympic opening ceremonies are something of a unique art form. Playing to a global audience but with the host nation wanting to make the night their own.

Japan chose sombre. It was a respectful, hopeful but above all sombre night. They didn’t want to show off when everyone has lived through such hardship – and while so many people continue to do so.

Their display using 1,824 flying drones combining like a swarm of giant worker bees to create a giant globe stood out.

Naomi Osaka of Japan holds the Olympic torch after lighting the Olympic cauldron
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Naomi Osaka of Japan holds the Olympic torch after lighting the cauldron

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There were no Team GB fans at the 2021 summer olympic opening ceremony in Tokyo due to COVID-19 but Japan put on a stunning visual show regardless

So too Japanese tennis superstar Naomi Osaka who was given the honour of firing up the hydrogen-fuelled Olympic cauldron.

But it was their courteous bow towards the pain of the pandemic that defined the evening.

Video montages of empty cities during lockdowns, and athletes cobbling together training regimes in their back gardens – it all made for an understated opening ceremony.

Outside, the protests in the streets continued among those still vehemently against the Games taking place while Tokyo remains in a state of COVID emergency.

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There were also people outside who just felt drawn to the Olympic stadium – to come and wave to the very select numbers of VIPs and media going inside. It was as close as they could get to the Games that they had waited almost a decade for.

While these Olympics will feel unusual there were reminders too of the magic they can create.

There was a towering Tongan taekwondo player who strode into the stadium with his bare oiled chest puffed out as he carried his island nation’s flag like a warrior on a mission.

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Protests held outside Olympic stadium

The Olympics can still produce special moments like that and there will be plenty more over the coming weeks.

There will be more COVID-19 disruption too but the Games of 2020 are finally open, just one year late.

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Business leaders have ‘obligation to speak up’, ex-Unilever boss says amid Ben & Jerry’s row | Business News

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Unilever’s ex-boss has said business leaders have an “obligation to speak up” after his former company became embroiled in a row with Israel over its Ben & Jerry’s business.

Paul Polman mounted a defence of the need to “fight for what is right” in remarks to Sky News after the ice cream brand said it would stop selling its products in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Ben & Jerry’s is owned by consumer goods giant Unilever – whose array of brands ranges from Marmite spread to Dove soap – but has an independent board to take such decisions.

Alan Jope, Unilever chief executive
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Current boss Alan Jope has spoken to Israel’s prime minister about the matter

Its announcement is one of the strongest steps taken by a well-known company over Israel’s settlements, which are widely seen as illegal by the international community.

The move drew condemnation from the Israeli government, whose new prime minister Naftali Bennett said this week that Israel would “use the tools at its disposal – including legal – on this issue” and that those taking such action “need to know that there will be a price to pay”.

Mr Polman, speaking to Sky’s Ian King Live, said it would be inappropriate to say how he would have handled the issue had he still been in charge of Unilever.

But he added: “What is very important is if we want humanity to function for the long term we need to be sure that we fight for the basic values, the basic values of dignity, respect, equity, compassion.

“If we see these values being violated anywhere in the world I think we have an obligation to speak up.

“What we’ve seen in the US in the last few years – too few people, also from the business side, spoke up against things that then bit by bit moved the boundaries and put us in a very difficult situation.

Naftali Bennett will serve as prime minister for two years
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Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett said there would be a “price to pay”

“So, fight for what is right and one of the few things we should fight for always is, these basic human rights.”

Mr Polman was speaking a day after current Unilever boss Alan Jope, in a conference call to discuss latest results, said the company remains “fully committed” to doing business in Israel but gave no indication that Unilever would press Ben & Jerry’s to reverse the decision.

Mr Jope, who has spoken to Mr Bennett on the phone to discuss the matter, said that it was a “complex and sensitive matter”.

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Tokyo Olympics 2020: Algerian judoka Fethi Nourine withdraws to avoid facing Israeli competitor Tohar Butbul | World News

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An Algerian judo competitor has withdrawn from the Tokyo Olympics after learning he could have faced an Israeli opponent.

Fethi Nourine said his political support for the Palestinian cause made it impossible to compete against Tohar Butbul.

He told Algerian TV he would not “get his hands dirty” and his “decision was final”.

“We worked a lot to reach the Olympics, and the news came as a shock, a thunder”, he added.

Tohar Butbul of Israel
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Tohar Butbul of Israel

The 30-year-old was drawn against Sudan’s Mohamed Asdalrasool on Monday for his first match in the men’s 73kg class. If he had won that match, he would have faced Butbul, who has a first-round bye, in the next round.

Nourine also withdrew from the world championships in 2019 for the same reason.

At the time, his coach Amar Ben Yaklif was quoted in Algerian media saying: “We were unlucky with the draw. We got an Israeli opponent and that’s why we had to retire. We made the right decision.”

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Tensions between Israel and Palestinians flared in Jerusalem earlier this year causing the worst violence in the region since 2014.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Judo - Training Sessions - Nippon Budokan, Tokyo, Japan - July 22, 2021. Technicians work on the mat in Nippon Budokan Arena, during training sessions. REUTERS/Sergio Perez
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Judo training sessions take place at the Tokyo Games

The conflict between the two sides has been going on for decades and has seen athletes from Iran and Egypt also previously refuse to compete against Israeli opponents.

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The opening ceremony for this year’s Olympic games took place on Friday, with fans not allowed in the national stadium for the event due to COVID-19 concerns.

Instead, around 1,000 dignitaries and members of the media were allowed the witness the spectacular event.

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