On Feb. 14, Nikolas Cruz unleashed a barrage of bullets on his former high school in Parkland, Florida. Much is known about the shooter, including his background, past behavioral issues, and run-ins with the law. But there’s one side of the story that’s still being explored — and that’s how he found his way to the school that day in the first place.
Cruz took an Uber around 2:00 pm that afternoon. And now, the driver’s speaking out about what she noticed.
1. The Uber driver thought Nikolas Cruz was carrying around a guitar
The New York Post explains on Valentine’s Day afternoon, Cruz climbed into the back of his Uber with a large case. The driver, who does not wish to be identified, didn’t think much of the case. In reality, however, it housed an AR-15.
“He told me, ‘I am going to my music class,'” said the driver when she noticed the case. Since she drives around people from all walks life, she didn’t consider it may hold a deadly weapon. And their conversation essentially stopped there.
Next: This is how Cruz acted in the Uber.
2. She says Cruz appeared calm and didn’t raise any red flags with his demeanor
CBS News reports the drive was 13 minutes long — and much of it was spent in silence. The Uber driver commented that she doesn’t often speak to her passengers because her English isn’t perfect. And during the ride, Cruz appeared totally calm.
She said he seemed like “just a normal person. I didn’t see anything strange or something like that, no.” And when a reporter asked her if she had any inkling he was up to no good, the driver vehemently said there was no indication.
Next: She drove away — and then she saw the news of what happened.
3. When she saw the news, she started to piece together the puzzle
Investigators think it was just minutes between when Cruz was dropped off at Marjory Stoneman Douglas and when he began his assault, CBS News reports. And the Uber driver drove away completely unscathed — and unaware — of what was to come. That is, until she saw the news.
She recollected, “I saw the news and I thought, ‘Oh, I just left someone over there.'” Shortly after, her car was investigated for clues, though she was assured she was not in any trouble with the law. And Cruz left nothing behind in her car, either.
Next: The Uber driver feels involved in the shooting, just like the rest of the community.
4. She’s now dealing with grief, just like so many others touched by the tragedy
The burials for the 17 victims began promptly following the tragic event. The New York Times recalls one parent of a deceased student asked, “How does this happen to my beautiful, smart, loving daughter?” And each funeral was full of mourning students, school faculty, and Parkland community members.
CBS News reports the Uber driver was also among the mourning. “I made an Uber and I went to a funeral and I started to cry. I don’t know. I feel involved with all this tragedy,” she says.
Next: The Uber driver may not have seen his behavioral problems, but others did.
5. Cruz displayed behavioral issues at his previous school
Before Cruz was transferred to Marjory Stoneman Douglas, he exhibited worrisome behavior at his previous school. AOL notes Cruz used racial slurs toward his peers, which got him into fights on school grounds. And he would often tell his teachers about his love of violence and guns.
Cruz showed improvement over time with the way he treated his classmates and mother, as he dreamed of leaving that school and instead attending Marjory Stoneman Douglas. But then his condition worsened again when he was transferred, and he was forced to leave Stoneman Douglas in February 2017.
Next: Cruz’s neighbor remembers his scary behavior in their youth.
6. One of Cruz’s neighbors recalls him as an ‘evil kid’
Cruz’s troubling behavior was not lost on his neighbors — and many have spoken out post-shooting to reveal what they remembered about the teen. CNN reports neighbor Rhonda Roxburgh recalled Cruz getting into several fights with other kids, and he once bit another kid’s ear. And Brody Speno, another neighbor who grew up a few doors down from Cruz, calls him an “evil kid” who would hurt small animals.
Before Cruz’s adoptive mother passed away unexpectedly, she also called the police many times on her son for his violent behavior. Speno says he remembers the police coming around every other week.
Next: Cruz’s Uber driver is lucky to be alive in this scenario.
7. She was safe in this case, but many Uber drivers are attacked on the job
Cruz’s Uber driver was lucky to walk away from this incident unscathed, while so many others did not. With that said, the incident still shook her up. “I have passengers in my car and I’m scared because anybody can have a gun,” she tells CBS News.
Her fear is warranted, too. Passengers attacking their drivers happens more often than it should. On Feb. 27, an Uber driver picked up a passenger in Cape Coral who attacked him and damaged his car for no apparent reason. And in 2017, 16-year-old Eliza Wasni killed her driver with a machete. It makes us wonder if the company should do more to protect both the driver and the passenger from violent individuals.
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