Things That Matter

Here’s What We Know About The Alleged School Shooter Nikolas Cruz

This is the 30th mass shooting in the U.S. this year.

A shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida has left 17 people dead and 14 injured. Nikolas Cruz is in custody as the suspect who perpetrated the school shooting on Valentine’s Day with an AR-15 rifle. The AR-15 is an assault style weapon that is highly customizable. The AR-15 weapon has been used in multiple mass shootings including Aurora, Colorado, Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida, and Sandy Hook Elemntary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The shooting at the Florida high school has become the 18th school shooting in a month and a half, according to Everytown For Gun Safety. That is 18 school shootings in 45 days. Students at Cruz’ former high school say that they are not surprised that Cruz would commit a mass shooting at the high school. According to law enforcement officials and former classmates, Cruz’ social media accounts were filled with images of guns, knives, and animals he killed with BB guns.

“All he would talk about is guns, knives and hunting,” Joshua Charo, 16, a former classmate at the high school, told Miami Herald. “I can’t say I was shocked. From past experiences, he seemed like the kind of kid who would do something like this.”

According to Miami Herald, Cruz was expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School for undisclosed behavioral reasons. Yet, student Victoria Olvera, 17, says that he was abusive with his ex-girlfriend and got into a fight with her boyfriend after they broke up. Olvera also said that Cruz was expelled last school year.

Cruz and his biological brother were adopted by Lynda and Roger Cruz, a couple from Long Island, New York, who raised the boys in Parkland, Florida. Roger died in 2005 of a heart attack and Lynda died in November from pneumonia brought on by the flu. After the death of his mother, a family friend took the two boys into their home, according to Miami Herald. The family that took him in knew about his AR-15 but made him keep it locked in a gun safe. He was given a key for the safe.

Nikolas has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, the white supremacy group Republic of Florida admits that Nikolas was part of the organization.

This is an ongoing story. Check back to mitú as the story continues to develop.

(H/T: Miami Herald)


READ: A School Shooting Left Two Students Dead At A New Mexico High School

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The Colombian City Where Body Parts Wash Up On The Shore So Often It’s Become Normal

Things That Matter

The Colombian City Where Body Parts Wash Up On The Shore So Often It’s Become Normal

Colombia has made incredible progress since the 1990’s when the country was a hotbed for international drug trafficking and guerrilla warfare. Today, modern bustling cities are home to shopping centers, museums, and hordes of international visitors.

However, despite the advancements, the country is still in a delicate peace deal with the main guerrilla oppossition – Las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) – and there are many other paramilitary groups that still operate across the country, including in the main port city of Buenavista.

The city of Buenavista is seeing an uptick in body parts washing up along its shores.

In mid-January, an arm washed up on the city’s shore. It was quickly assumed, by local media reports, that the arm belonged to one of three local fisherman who had most likely been rounded up, killed, and dismembered. The arm had a tattoo on it, connecting it to one of the missing men, Armando Valencia.

And it wasn’t the first time this has happened. According to residents, body parts washing up on beaches is a tragically familiar occurrence. “There were some reports of body parts washing up at La Bocana [a nearby tourist spot]. A head, a leg, an arm,” said María Miyela Riascos, a social leader from Buenaventura, in a statement to VICE News. “Also, they found a man and a woman dismembered in the rural area of Bajo Calima.”

Violence has been rampant in Buenaventura for decades. The city has some of the highest rates of forced displacement and homicide in the country. But seldom has it been confronted by the levels of brutality experienced in the past year.

Criminal groups have long terrorized the city but things seem to be out of control.

So many different criminal groups have terrorized the slums of Colombia’s main Pacific port that residents rarely bother to learn the name of the latest clan in control. They simply call the warring gangs los malos or the bad guys.

Three people have been killed or disappeared daily, and conflict between organized crime has displaced as many as 6,000 people. Videos on Twitter show people fleeing their homes and young men and women patrolling with assault weapons. #SOSbuenaventura has been trending.

Community leaders see darker interests behind the violence, saying the areas where most crimes occur are the same where plans have been laid for a waterfront project, an airport and seaport terminals. “I see the violence as a means of pressure to get us off this area so they can build their projects,” Armando Valencia told The Guardian.

Criminals use “chop houses” to dismember their victims.

Colombian navy special forces on patrol among stilted waterfront shacks in Buenaventura
Credit: Fernando Vergara / Getty Images

The criminals recruit children, extort businesses, force people from their homes and dismember live victims, scattering their remains in the bay or surrounding jungle. Dozens of wooden huts balanced precariously on stilts over the bay have been abandoned by terrorized citizens and taken over by the gangs for use as casas de pique, or chop houses, where they torture and murder their victims.

The chop houses are the most gruesome consequence of a deeply flawed attempt to dismantle rightwing militias, which originally emerged to combat leftwing guerrillas in collusion with state security forces and drug traffickers.

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Thirteen Years After Her Daughter’s Murder, Casey Anthony Is Producing A Documentary To ‘Clear Her Name’

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Thirteen Years After Her Daughter’s Murder, Casey Anthony Is Producing A Documentary To ‘Clear Her Name’

Updated Feb. 8, 2021.

In 2008, the death of Caylee Anthony gripped headlines across the United States after her mother Casey Anthony was charged with first-degree murder. The case attracted a significant amount of news attention and quickly became a media circus. Forty million people watched testimony in the case which became the main topic of talk shows across the country.

Now, thirteen years after her daughter’s death, Casey Anthony is back to making headlines. After enduring so much legal trouble, Anthony is thrusting herself back into the legal field again, this time for business.

Casey Anthony is raising eyebrows once again after filing paperwork to open a private investigation company in South Florida.

Anthony filed documents listing herself as a registered agent of Case Research & Consulting Services, LLC last December. Her business, according to People, was registered to a home in West Palm Beach owned by Patrick McKenna. During the time of her trial, McKenna worked as Anthony’s lead investigator.

According to state records, Anthony does not have a Florida private investigator’s license. As a convicted felon she will not be able to obtain a license.

Casey Anthony is also now pushing to become a movie producer.

 According to TMZ Anthony and co-producers, Tamra Simmons and Ebony Porter-Ike are setting out to produce a movie about her daughter’s murder in an effort to clear her name.

TMZ says that the producers behind the documentary say Anthony is “finally ready to clear her name, bring justice to her daughter, and begin the process of establishing her daughter’s legacy in a different light.”

“She knows what it’s like to be accused of something that she didn’t do,” a source told People. “She wants to help other wrongfully accused people, especially women, and help them get justice.” The source noted that Anthony has yet to obtain clients. “It’s in the very early stages,” explained the source. “She has big plans for her future, and hopes that it will change how people see her.”

In 2008, Anthony was charged with first-degree murder for the disappearance of her daughter Caylee.

Anthony’s case became notorious after it came out that she had not reported her daughter missing until 31 days after she disappeared. A massive search went underway for the toddler who was almost three. The search ended when her body was found in a wooded lot near Anthony’s family home.

On July 5, 2011, a jury found Casey not guilty of first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, and aggravated manslaughter of a child. They did, however, find her guilty of four misdemeanor counts of providing false information to a law enforcement officer.

After she was acquitted, a Department of Corrections spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger described Casey as “the court made a pretty strong statement that she was one of the most hated women in America.”

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