Broward Sheriff Scott Israel said Mr Cruz was a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which is a suburb of Fort Lauderdale. He is accused of entering the campus just before school was dismissed on Wednesday afternoon and opening fire on students and teachers, The Telegraph reports.
On Wednesday night it was revealed Mr Cruz had been expelled from the school for “disciplinary reasons”. As a disturbing history on social media became more widely known, fellow pupils spoke in the immediate aftermath of the shooting of his erratic behaviour.
On Thursday morning, President Donald Trump ordered American flags to be flown at half mast on all public buildings in memory of the shooting victims. In a tweet Mr Trump suggested more could have been done to prevent the atrocity:
Jim Gard, a maths teacher at the school, said that the teachers had reportedly been warned about Cruz. Another student interviewed on the scene by Channel 7 said the student had guns at home.
“We were told last year that he wasn’t allowed on campus with a backpack on him,” said Mr Gard, who added that the former student had been in his class last year. “There were problems with him last year threatening students.”
Broward County Mayor Beam Furr told CNN the shooter was getting treatment at a mental health clinic for a while, but that he hadn’t been back to the clinic for more than a year.
Pupils at the school hid under desks and cowered in cupboards as the gunfire rang out on Wednesday afternoon.