Accused school shooter refused special services


PARKLAND, Fla. (AP) — The suspect in the mass shooting at a Florida high school refused to let the district continue providing him with mental health services after he turned 18 and the superintendent of schools says federal law kept them from doing anything about it.

Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie tells the Sun Sentinel “You can’t make someone do something when the law says they have the right to make that determination.”

Nikolas Cruz, now 19, is accused killing 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day.

Runcie says Cruz had attended a school with programs for emotionally and disabled students, and returned to Douglas in August 2016. By November, he says the “situation had deteriorated.”

With the support of his mother, Cruz refused special needs services and remained at the school until February 2017.

Meanwhile, the Florida Senate Rules Committee on Monday voted 9-4 for a bill that would raise the age to purchase rifles from 18 to 21 and create a three-day waiting period to buy the weapons.

Those rules are already in place for handguns. The bill also would make it easier to block gun sales or confiscate weapons from people who show violent tendencies or signs of mental illness.

The bill also would let Florida counties authorize teachers to carry concealed weapons in school if they undergo law enforcement training and are deputized by the local sheriff’s office.

But the committee refused to add an overall assault-style weapon ban in the bill, voting that amendment down 6-7 after more than two hours of testimony from dozens of gun safety advocates. Those advocates pleaded with lawmakers to ban weapons like the AR-15 used to kill 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day.

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