Roxanne Deschamps, the woman who first took in Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz after the death of his mother, has told reporters that she called police on him multiple times, and that he ultimately chose his guns over living in her house.
“I did everything I could to warn law enforcement about what could happen,” Deschamps said during an emotional press conference held on Tuesday in New York City. “I wanted to protect not only my own children but also anyone else who might be at risk of being harmed. I also wanted to protect Nikolas from himself.”
Deschamps, 42, explained that she had promised the alleged gunman’s mother, Lynda Cruz, a close friend of hers, that she would take care of her sons in the event of her death. Lynda Cruz died in November of last year and Deschamps made good on her promise. She said that Nikolas and his younger brother, Zachary, had initially agreed not to bring guns into her home, where she is raising three children of her own. But after she discovered a receipt for bullets and gun and from Dick’s Sporting Goods, her son, Rock, who is three years older than Nikolas, called police on him for the first time.
“We explained to the officer that Nikolas had purchased a gun and that we were afraid of his intentions,” Deschamps recalled. “The police said that anyone was allowed to buy a gun.”
She called police a second time after seeing Cruz digging a hole in her backyard, where she later found an empty gun box. The third 911 call came after Cruz began punching holes in her wall, and then punched Rock when he intervened. After Rock “defended himself,” Cruz fled the house before police arrived. When he returned home, she told him “it was either the gun or us, and that he had to choose.”
Cruz chose to leave, and began staying with the Snead family. Deschamps added that she warned them about his guns, and his behavior, as well. Speaking to reporters, Deschamps said that Cruz’s mother had told her that Nikolas once put a gun to her head, and that personally she felt “mentally and emotionally he was similar to a 12-year-old.”
“I don’t know how Nikolas obtained all of the guns that he had,” Deschamps said, “but given the fact that I have reason to believe he was mentally ill, he should never have been able to purchase or have those guns in his possession.”
Below, see video footage from the news conference.