Alleged Florida shooter member of school rifle team given NRA grant: report
The 19-year-old accused of killing 17 people at a Florida high school Wednesday was reportedly a member of the school’s marksmanship team, which received grants from the National Rifle Association (NRA).
The Associated Press reports Nikolas Cruz, the alleged gunman in the deadly mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was a member of the marksmanship team, which was part of the school’s Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps.
Cruz was reportedly wearing a shirt with the JROTC logo when he was arrested following the shooting.
Former JROTC cadet Aaron Diener told the AP that Cruz was a member of the team and that he gave him a ride to a shooting competition where they competed together in 2016.
“He was a very good shot,” Diener said. “He had an AR-15 he talked about, and pistols.”
According to records obtained by the AP, the school’s JROTC program received $10,827 in “non-cash assistance” from the NRA Foundation, the organization’s fundraising and charitable group, in 2016, when Cruz was part of the team.
The NRA Foundation gave nearly $2.2 million to schools across the country in 2016. The Broward County Public School district, of which Stoneman Douglas High is a part, has at least four other schools that have received NRA donations, according to the AP.
Authorities say Cruz killed 17 people at the Parkland, Fla., high school on Wednesday when he opened fire with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.
Cruz legally purchased the rifle he allegedly used in the shooting, according to local law enforcement.
Democratic lawmakers have insisted that Congress and President Trump take action on gun laws, but Trump has not said whether he will work on gun control in the aftermath of the shooting.
One student who survived the shooting penned an op-ed Friday calling for gun control and citing Republican lawmakers receiving donations from the NRA as one reason gun control reforms haven’t passed.
“I’m just a high school student, and I do not pretend to have all of the answers. However, even in my position, I can see that there is desperate need for change — change that starts by folks showing up to the polls and voting all those individuals who are in the back pockets of gun lobbyists out of office,” Cameron Kasky wrote.
“Please do it for me. Do it for my fellow classmates. We can’t vote, but you can, so make it count,” he wrote.
A spokeswoman for the NRA declined to comment on Friday to the AP.