Nikolas Cruz’s mother described him as a ‘sore loser’ and believed something was ‘very wrong with him’

Cruz’s relationship with his mother and his obsession with playing Xbox games featured heavily in Friday’s testimony

Rachel Sharp
Friday 02 September 2022 21:59 BST
Judge Elizabeth Scherer admonishes Parkland trial lawyers

Nikolas Cruz’s late adoptive mother described him as a “sore loser” and believed that there was something “very wrong” with her son, according to evidence presented at his sentencing trial on Friday.

Jurors were shown a form completed by Lynda Cruz about her son’s behaviour which was part of a behavioural assessment carried out by Broward County school social worker Lilliana Pardo-Posse.

Ms Pardo-Posse worked with Cruz at Westglades Middle School – a general education school where he was a student from 2011 to 2013.

In the form completed by Lynda, she revealed that she believed “something is very wrong with him”.

“I don’t know what,” she said, adding that she believed there was more going on than his ADHD.

Lynda detailed that he had “frequent anger outbursts” where he would start “screaming, kicking, throwing things and punching holes in the wall”.

His temper would often start when he was playing Xbox, she said, because Cruz was a “sore loser” and had “low self-esteem”

“He can’t stand to lose, gets angry and curses people playing with him,” Lynda wrote.

Lynda also revealed that Cruz “dislikes policemen in general and he hates reading and doing homework,” she wrote.

The mass shooter’s mother, who adopted him as a baby, also described her son as a “momma’s boy” and belived he cared a lot about her.

“The parent feels that Nikolas is a loving kid, he is a gentle soul,” read the notes.

“Nikolas cares a lot for her as his mom and he is a momma’s boy.”

Cruz’s relationship with his mother and his obsession with playing Xbox games featured heavily in Friday’s testimony.

Tiffany Forrest, Cruz’s youth case manager in 2013, testified that Nikolas Cruz would have “outbursts” inside the family home – often because he was not allowed to play video games.

“He would yell at her [Lynda], become angry, use curse words,” she said.

Nikolas Cruz cleans his glasses as he listens in court on Friday 2 September
Nikolas Cruz cleans his glasses as he listens in court on Friday 2 September (Getty Images)

When his behaviour upset his mother, Cruz and his younger brother Zachary “thought it was funny”, said Ms Forrest.

Ms Forrest also revealed that Cruz’s mother used to sleep clutching her purse because she feared her sons were going to steal it.

The social worker told the court that there was “quite a bit of dysfunction” in the family home and that she witnessed the mass shooter’s younger brother bullying him.

“Zachary would say a lot of provoking things to Nikolas, call him names,” she said.

Ms Forrest described one incident where she said Cruz was eating cereal his mother had given him, when Zachary climbed onto the countertop and stepped on the food, she said.

Law enforcement were called to the home multiple times over both of the boys.

Jeffrey Smith, retired detective with Broward Sheriff’s Office, testified that he remembered responding to the home on four to five occasions.

All of the incidents were “similar,” he said – involving Lynda calling the police because her sons were “acting out”, “punching walls” and “being belligerent,” he said.

In one incident on 27 November 2012, police were called to a complaint that Cruz allegedly hit Lynda with the plastic hose from the vacuum cleaner.

The dispute unfolded because Cruz was not allowed to use his computer. Cruz had left by the time officers arrived.

Mr Smith testified that Lynda was “overwhelmed” by the two boys “who had difficulties”.

Lynda died from pneumonia in November 2017 – three months before he carried out one of the worst mass shootings in US history.

On Valentine’s Day 2018, Cruz entered the freshman building at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, armed with an AR-15.

He stalked the hallways shooting dead 17 innocent students and staff.

Last October, Cruz pleaded guilty to 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder.

Jurors will now determine whether to sentence him to life in prison or to death.

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