Report: Fla. social services investigated Nikolas Cruz in 2016

  • Florida's state social services agency investigated Nikolas Cruz in 2016 over violent social media posts.
  • They closed the investigation after two months, determining he was a low risk.
  • Cruz, 19, allegedly killed 17 people when he opened fire on the high school he once attended.

Florida's state social services agency had previously investigated Nikolas Cruz, long before he set foot on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday and allegedly gunned down 17 people.

The Florida Department of Children and Families opened a file on Cruz in 2016 after being alerted to his Snapchat posts showing him cutting his arms and saying he wanted to buy a gun, according to a state report first obtained by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Agency investigators visited Cruz at his home and questioned him, ultimately identifying him as a "vulnerable adult due to mental illness" including depression, autism, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, which he was medicated for.

The report noted that Cruz's mother attributed his behavior to "a breakup with a girl." It also documented one incident where Cruz drew a Nazi symbol and racial slur on his book bag, until his mother forced him to clean it off. She said Cruz told her he hadn't known what the symbol meant.

Yet despite those incidents, state investigators closed Cruz's case two months after opening it, determining that the "final level of risk is low," as Cruz "resides with his mother, attends school and receives counseling."

But by the time of Wednesday's shooting, Cruz had lost access to at least two of those support networks — his mother died several months ago and he was expelled from his high school. It's unknown if he was still seeing a counselor.

RELATED: A timeline of how the Florida high school shooting unfolded

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A timeline of how the Florida high school shooting unfolded
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A timeline of how the Florida high school shooting unfolded

Wednesday, February 14, 2018: Sometime after 2 p.m. the gunman begins to make his approach to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, near Fort Lauderdale. 

(Amy Beth Bennett/Sun Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)

2:30 p.m.: The shooting begins.

According to CNN, people first heard shots at 2:30 p.m. Several witnesses have said the gunman pulled the fire alarm before shooting so that people would run into his line of fire.

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

2:35 p.m.: Some of the first signs to the outside world that a shooting was underway come from social media. One Twitter user noted that students were texting the about the shooting.
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all hell is breaking loose at Douglas high school @Coralspringsfla kids texting about a shooter ???? https://t.co/7NnoipVJpy

2:53 p.m.: Twenty minutes later the Broward County Sheriff's Office publicly acknowledges that a shooting is underway.
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#BSO is working a developing incident regarding a report of active shooter located at 5901 Pine Island Rd, Parkland… https://t.co/zrKtdjDxcb

The shooter's exact movements inside the school are not clear. This video was recorded by a student inside a classroom, where gunshots and screaming can be heard.
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JUST IN (warning, disturbing video): Cell phone video inside the school as shots were going off at Marjory Stoneman… https://t.co/UAHNy8LnAu

2:55 p.m.: Local media report five injuries in the shooting, the first sense of its scale.
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Appears there are at least 5 people injured at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Coral Springs after reports… https://t.co/GB3K6tliYy

People are told to avoid the area.
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Avoid the area of Stoneman Douglas HS. #BSO is currently working a developing incident regarding a report of active shooter.

3:10 p.m.: A student tweets an image of the inside of his classroom where he and classmates are hiding.
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Still locked in. I checked the local news and there is 20 victims. Long live Majory Stoneman Douglas High. https://t.co/4kQMAlCBWt

3:11 p.m.: Sheriffs confirm that the shooter remains at large.
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Follow @browardsheriff for latest info on the #stonemanshooting. Shooter still at large.

3:15 p.m.: Students are seen running from the school grounds.
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​​​​​​​MORE: Aerial footage above Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shows students running from grounds of campus after… https://t.co/riKt7KAbT4

Deputies said that Cruz tried to hide himself among the students running away from the shooting.
They eventually identified him by examining surveillance footage and picking him out from the crowd. A witness told the Miami Herald newspaper that Cruz had put on a military ROTC uniform like those used in class while he was running.

(John McCall/Sun Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)

3:58 p.m.: Cruz is arrested around a mile from the school by the neighboring Coconut Creek Police Department. The incident is recorded by a news helicopter.
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Possible suspect in custody in #FloridaShooting #StonemanShooting. @wsvn https://t.co/gxisLcEVGf
At about the same time, President Donald Trump sends his "prayers and condolences" to victims.
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My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting. No child, teacher or an… https://t.co/RFJxgM1jhm

Shortly after the tweet, some students who survived the shooting responded in anger.

(Amy Beth Bennett/Sun Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)

4:11 p.m.: Sheriffs confirm that the suspect had been arrested. Cruz is not yet named.
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Shooter is now in custody. Scene is still active. #stonemanshooting

4:27 p.m.: Cruz exhibits "labored breathing" after his arrest and was taken to hospital as a precaution. Local news outlets photographed him being loaded up for the journey.
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Photo: Suspect is loaded into fire rescue to be transported to hospital https://t.co/SP0rJg5tY5

4:22 p.m.: Sheriffs say 14 people were shot. The figure later increases.
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So far we have at least 14 victims. Victims have been and continue to be transported to Broward Health Medical Cent… https://t.co/hWUp5BuMcB

4:30 p.m.: The Associated Press reports that the shooting resulted in "numerous fatalities," the first indication that victims had died.

(John McCall/Sun Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)

4:34 p.m.: The first videos of the arrest emerge.
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#NEW: Longer video of suspect arrested @wsvn https://t.co/2ZHmCd69rV

4:59 p.m.: Sheriffs say students are still inside the school and are being removed from classrooms by SWAT teams. The school has about 3,100 students.

(John McCall/Sun Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)

5:15 p.m.: Video on social media shows SWAT teams evacuating students from their hiding places.
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My little brother just sent me this video of the swat team evacuating his classroom at stoneman douglas. So scary b… https://t.co/inomdpbpmS

5:30 p.m.: Local and national media begin to name the suspect as Nikolas Cruz. Some initially spell his first name Nicolas, or Nikolaus.
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UPDATE: US official: Parkland school shooter identified as Nicolas Cruz.
5:39 p.m.: Parents, who were being held at a staging area near the school, begin to be reunited with their children.
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Parents and families of Westglades Middle School can now pick-up students at the school. Pine Island Road has been… https://t.co/Pkg6ixPiBR

6:27 p.m.: Authorities confirm deaths for the first time (previous statements referred only to "victims"). Their death toll is 17.
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Business Insider has been keeping track of the identities of those killed and wounded in the attack. Click here for a full rundown.

"I'm saddened to say that 17 people lost their lives."- Sheriff Scott Israel #stonemanshooting

7:36 p.m.: Media outlets are allowed to get close to the outside of the school. The local channel WSVN broadcasts footage of classroom windows with bullet hotels.
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A window riddled with bullet holes could be seen at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in #Parkland https://t.co/aQ0zei1FX9

8:24 p.m.: A local correspondent tweets a clear photograph of the suspect.
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#BREAKING: Extremely clear picture of suspect captured by police @wsvn https://t.co/v4AiyIFFs1

Thursday 15th February, 5:39 a.m.: Reporters watch Cruz getting booked in to the Broward County Jail.
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BREAKING: deputies bring suspected shooter Nikolas Cruz to Broward County Jail @WPLGLocal10 #StonemanHighSchool https://t.co/718lffPkMo

Around 6:30 a.m.: Sheriffs publish jail booking details for Cruz, including his mugshot. He is charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.
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The entry is hosted on the Broward County Sheriff's website.

It lists Cruz's date of birth, physical characteristics, and lists the 17 separate murders with which he has been charged.

(Photo by Broward's Sheriff's Office via Getty Images)
7:12 a.m.: Trump tweets, saying the shooter was "mentally disturbed."
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So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavi… https://t.co/3mSYrtTng6

8:22 a.m.: A teen who survived the shooting pleads for action, saying "we're children. you guys are the adults. You need to take some action and play a role."
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David Hogg survivor of Fl. school shooting: "we're children. you guys are the adults. you need to take some action… https://t.co/6KXQuGpDxd

Throughout the morning, we learn new details about Cruz's personal history. Cruz was adopted. He had been living with the family of a classmates since both of his adoptive parents are deceased, ABC News reported.

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

8:33 a.m.: BuzzFeed News' Tom Namako reports that Cruz legally purchased the AR-15 that he used to carry out the shooting.
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BREAKING: Law enforcement official: Ex-student suspected in Florida school shooting legally purchased AR-15 rifle about a year ago.

Around 10:30 a.m.: FBI special agent Robert Lasky confirms that a YouTube user named Nikolas Cruz posted, "I'm going to be a professional school shooter" in the comments section of a video in September.

The FBI was unable to confirm whether the account that made the comment belonged to Cruz, the suspected school shooter.

(Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

11 a.m.: Trump addresses the country.

"It is not enough to simply take actions that make us feel like we are making a difference," Trump said. "We must actually make that difference."

The speech focused on combatting mental health. Trump also said he plans to visit Parkland to console families and local officials at some point in the near future.

(AFP/Getty Images)

After Trump's speech, Florida Gov. Rick Scott said he intends to meet with state leaders next week in Tallahassee to discuss potential legislation dealing with mental health.

"The violence has to stop. We cannot lose another child in this country to violence in a school," Scott said at a news conference on Thursday. "If someone is mentally ill, they should not have access to a gun … None of us want anything like this to happen again."

(Amy Beth Bennett/Sun Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)

12:12 p.m.: Former President Barack Obama tweets in support of "common-sense gun safety laws."
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We are grieving with Parkland. But we are not powerless. Caring for our kids is our first job. And until we can hon… https://t.co/LWGSkzRapH

12:51 p.m.: The AP reports that the leader of a white nationalist group — called the Republic of Florida — claimed Cruz was a member of the organization.
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Jordan Jereb told The Associated Press that his group, Republic of Florida, wants Florida to become its own white ethno-state. ROF describes itself as a "white civil rights organization fighting for white identitarian politics," according to the Anti-Defamation League.

He added that he didn't know Cruz personally and that Cruz "acted on his own behalf of what he just did and he's solely responsible for what he just did."

PARKLAND, Fla. (AP) — Leader of white nationalist group has confirmed suspect in Florida school shooting was member of his organization

Around 2 p.m.: A judge ordered Cruz held without bond on 17 murder charges.

(Susan Stocker/Sun Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)

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'A multisystem failure'

The secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families, Mike Carroll, told The New York Times that "mental health services and supports were in place when this investigation closed."

News of the state investigation is just the latest in a series of revelations regarding Cruz's disturbing past. The local sheriff's office reportedly visited Cruz's home at least 39 times in the last seven years, in many cases to deal directly with Cruz's behavior.

The FBI also announced Friday that it failed to follow protocols after receiving a tip that Cruz had a "desire to kill people" and showed signs he might conduct a school shooting.

Meanwhile, Cruz's former classmates, teachers, and neighbors have all spoken to media in recent days about his history of talking about school shootings, getting into trouble, and harming animals, other people, and himself.

"This kid exhibited every single known red flag, from killing animals to having a cache of weapons to disruptive behavior to saying he wanted to be a school shooter," Howard Finkelstein, the Broward County public defender, whose office is representing Cruz, told The Times.

"If this isn't a person who should have gotten someone's attention, I don't know who is. This was a multisystem failure," he added.

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