Parkland Shooter Reportedly Researched Columbine Shooting Before Massacre

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The Parkland shooting in February incited the creation of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission. The same state-legislated commission investigated shooter Nikolas Cruz in an attempt to understand the event through the person by which it was initiated. Investigators’ research uncovered information about Cruz having committed premeditated murder as he’d been researching the 1999 Columbine High School Massacre.

“He mapped it out, he had been planning this for a while,” commission chair and Sheriff Bob Gualtieri told the Sun-Sentinel.

Mass killers Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris thoroughly planned the massacre at their high school. The two obtained multiple guns and set out to kill anyone in their way, then committed suicide. What wasn’t provided is a simulated timeline of the shooters’ movements through the building, making it difficult for viewers to see when and whether students/faculty were killed or injured.

At the commission’s first panel on Tuesday at Broward College North Campus (Apr. 24), they were finally able to track the movement and timeline of Cruz’s actions amid the shooting via a makeshift animation. In it, blue dots are for staff and green dots are for students. The yellow dots represent those who were wounded, while the purple dots are for those who were killed. Cruz is a black dot with a line attachment, representative of the AR-15 he used. According to the Sun-Sentinel, the animation caused upset as parents could identify where their children were in the video. “I knew which dot was my daughter so it was pretty brutal for me,” Andrew Pollack, the father of Meadow Pollack, said.

According to Gualteri, whether Cruz got to certain people depended on the floor they were on. Students and faculty on the first floor had little time to lockdown classrooms as Cruz came from the staircase, unmounted his AR-15, and began shooting into the hallway and classrooms. Victims on the second floor likely heard the shots, following the steps for “Code Red” situations. But on the third floor, the smoke alarm reacted to Cruz’s gun, setting off the fire alarm and causing students and teachers to take action as if there had been a fire.

The commission is tasked with gathering a timeline that’s as close as possible to the incident. They’re planning to investigate Cruz’s private life, too. Reportedly, they’ll begin as early on as the day he was born.

The investigation will put out a report in January. Cruz is due in court for a hearing on Friday (Apr. 27).