Family Members Say Florida School Shooter Was On Antidepressants for Emotional Issues

Free Thought Project – by Rachel Blevins

Parkland, Florida – At least 17 people were killed and 15 were wounded during a mass shooting at a high school in Florida on Wednesday, and the reports that have been released about the suspect indicate that he was taking medications for depression and emotional issues that come packed with dangerous side effects.

Nikolas Cruz, 19, is accused of entering Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and opening fire on his fellow students after he was previously expelled for disciplinary reasons that have not been made public. The Miami Herald reported that Cruz has raised red flags at school in the past, and last year a teacher submitted a warning against letting him on campus with a backpack.  

Former classmates said they were not surprised by the shooting. Joshua Charo told the Herald that Cruz fit the description of a disgruntled student who would carry out a mass shooting.

“I can’t say I was shocked,” Charo said. “From past experiences, he seemed like the kind of kid who would do something like this.”

John Crescitelli shared the same sentiment, saying his son had warned him about Cruz before. “If you were to pick one person you might predict in the future would shoot up a school or do this, it would be this kid,” he said.

An Instagram account attributed to Cruz that was taken down after the shooting showed a number of photos that displayed his love for guns, knives and killing small animals and rodents.

The people who knew Cruz described him as a troubled teenager who was adopted when he was young and then was forced to move in with a friend after both of his adopted parents died. Jim Lewis, an attorney for the family that gave Cruz a place to live after his mother died in November, told The Washington Post that they knew Cruz was depressed, but they believed he taking steps to manage his depression.

Family member Barbara Kumbatovich told the Herald, “she believed Nikolas Cruz was on medication to deal with his emotional fragility.” She was a sister-in-law of Lynda Cruz, the suspect’s mother, and she also told the Sun-Sentinel that she believes Nikolas has been on medications for several months.

“I know she had been having some issues with them, especially the older one. He was being a problem. I know he did have some issues and he may have been taking medication. [He] did have some kind of emotional or difficulties,” Kumbatovich said. “[Lynda] kept a really close handle on both boys. They were not major issues, as far as I know, just things teenagers do like not coming home on time, maybe being disrespectful.”

Janine Kartiganer, a former neighbor, also described Crus as “very troubled,” and said, “He wore a hoodie and always had his head down. He looked depressed.”

An anonymous relative added another description, telling the Sentinel that they believed Cruz has been diagnosed with autism.

While it is not clear how many medications Cruz was taking, the pharmaceutical drugs prescribed for depression and emotional issues are packed with a number of side effects that can lead to violent behavior.

As The Free Thought Project has reported, Las Vegas shooting suspect Stephen Paddock was prescribed the anti-anxiety drug diazepam in June, a few months before he is accused of opening fire out of his bedroom window at the Mandalay Bay Hotel, and killing more than 50 people.

The side effects from diazepam include “confusion, hallucinations, unusual thoughts or behavior; unusual risk-taking behavior, decreased inhibitions, no fear of danger; depressed mood, thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself; and hyperactivity, agitation, aggression, hostility.” 

Aurora shooting suspect James Holmes killed 12 people and injured 70 when he opened fire inside of a movie theater in 2012, and he was also found to have been taking the antidepressant Sertraline, a generic version of the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) Zoloft.

Sertraline has side effects that include “aggressive reaction; mood or behavior changes; and fast talking and excited feelings or actions that are out of control.”

Gavin Long, the veteran who went on a shooting rampage in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was prescribed Lunesta and Ativan, both of which have an extended list of adverse side effects.

Both Lunesta and Ativan have overlapping side effects of aggression, agitation, changes in behavior, hallucinations, suicidal thoughts — and homicidal ideation.

Homicidal ideation is a common medical term for thoughts about homicide. There is a range of homicidal thoughts which spans from vague ideas of revenge to detailed and fully formulated plans without the act itself.

There have been 150 studies in 17 countries on antidepressant-induced side effects. There have been 134 drug regulatory agency warnings from 11 countries and the EU warning about the dangerous side effects of antidepressants.

Despite this deadly laundry list of potential reactions to these medications, their use has skyrocketed by 400% since 1988. 

Currently, 11 percent of all Americans 12 years of age and over take antidepressant medication, which is a higher rate than all other countries in the world.

An investigation conducted by the BBC found that in the United Kingdom, antidepressants have been linked to 28 reports of murder and 32 cases of murderous thoughts referred to the UK medicines regulator in the last three decades.

As details emerge from the shooting, causing several lawmakers to call for gun control, many will ignore that fact that the suspects from most of the deadliest U.S. mass shootings in recent years also had access to dangerous pharmaceutical drugs that can lead to violent behavior and can worsen the mental illnesses they are prescribed to treat.

Free Thought Project

5 thoughts on “Family Members Say Florida School Shooter Was On Antidepressants for Emotional Issues

  1. So hey. I just got me a thought bubble/brain fart. Its so OBVIOUS as to elicit a cosmic duuuuhh. Being as there are so many of these shootings and antidepressants… would seem to me that the connection isnt guns, even though they’re used. Rather, by golly, ….WHY DON’T WE GET RID OF THE PHARMA DRUGS? …..and then see what happens?

    1. Shhh…. We can’t put the pharmaceutical industry out of business. There’s too much money in it, they’re too big to fail and jail and we can’t poison and/or dumb down people without them.

    2. I concur. “Anti-depressants”(also known as “homicide-makers” apparently) are NOT mentioned nor protected in the B of R.

      That was easy?!

  2. I don’t believe anti-depressants cause these shootings. That’s confusing correlation with causation.

    If I remember right, more than 10% of the US population is on psychiatric drugs. That means that for every several million people who takes anti-depressants, maybe ONE becomes a spree killer.

    On the other hand, we would fully expect that anyone who is capable of killing random people would have a screw loose. Unsurprisingly, such people often have a history of psychiatric treatment.

    No doubt psychiatric drugs are way over-prescribed, and I’m not defending that. People should never take powerful meds unless they absolutely need them. But some people DO need them. I personally know people who have unequivocally had their lives saved by them, so there is no doubt in my mind that in some cases those meds can correct chemical imbalances in the brain. But if that chemical imbalance can be corrected by more natural means, then that should always be the first choice.

  3. BMF, yes, only a small percentage of people taking these drugs go on killing sprees. And there may even be a few people helped by them. You can count them on one hand. But their overprescription both to people and commercial food animals should have been nipped in the bud long ago. What were our governments doing while this was going on? They deserve to be kicked out soundly and replaced. The countless millions of cattle, pigs, chickens and fish in addition to people getting these poisons tend to produce daily excrement (duh!) which goes into our water supply, the contamination of which makes fracking look like kindergarten play in comparison. This is the true reason fresh water will become scarce. It will become even more scarce when Pharma attacks Asia and Africa next–just as soon as governments or insurers there gain sufficient income to pay for the atrocities their handlers foist on whole populations and be suitably intimidated to do so. This is, of course, unmentionable. Pharma, like Tobacco, gets special privileges. Why? Just google Public Finance Balance of Smoking in the Czech Republic. That’s why. Pharma can help with this; so can Big Food, Big Sugar, Big Tobacco and a few other Big Entities. So, ain’t it a great boon to the world that suicide is so much more common than killing sprees! Almost all of us know someone who committed suicide while on antidepressants. But frequent as suicides are, the other, more minor types of harm and self-harm like self-mutilation and bulimia are almost the rule. Ask anyone privy to the scene. There are some very credible first-person accounts on “SSRI Stories, Antidepressant Nightmares”, and tweets, sites and articles by heroic people like Professors David Healy and Peter Gotzsche and ten thousand more. Thank God the number is growing. See Healy’s site called “Rxisk”. The more minor harms I refer to can still alarm and injure the zombified person taking the drug and those around him. (It’s not a coincidence our Western culture produces a lot of zombie movies–the people on these things feel like zombies.) And the devastation and despair it wreaks on the parents of the pharmacological victim can be almost unbearable and constitutes a special kind of hell no parent should have to suffer. Indeed, some of these less harmful side effects alone can evoke PTSD-like trauma, heart disease and more in family and loved ones of those involved. Watching your child/husband/parent/brother/sister cutting and slitting her own skin (quite common, officially blamed on the “illness”, pastes the “borderline” label on your loved one, though the behavior stops once the victim finally gets cleanly off the usually huge horse-dose of the drug!) and wondering if the next cut will be lethal is constant, harmful stress. Seeing your once normal child suddenly turn into a zombie version of themselves, losing their normal personality, showing aggressive if not lethal behavior towards others is more than difficult. The victim’s friends and relatives will be subjected to verbal attacks, improper behavior in social situations, damage to property; accidents with vehicles or using vehicles as weapons, school failure, relationship failure and problems with money–a real picnic for everyone. Yes, these are the daily minor harms of antidepressants. Nightmare is correct.

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