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Florida shooter's violent history emerges

Posted at 6:54 AM, Feb 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-17 06:54:11-05

PARKLAND, FL (CNN) - The gunman at a Florida high school who killed 17 people is willing to plead guilty in order to avoid the death penalty, his public defender said.

Nikolas Cruz is expected to appear in court on Monday.

Meanwhile, authorities are piecing together the 19-year-old’s violent past.

There were group chat messages showing he was obsessed with race, violence and guns. One of the messages expressed clear racist vitriol.

Cruz said he hated "Jews, [N-words], immigrants."

He also talked about killing Mexicans, keeping black people in chains and cutting their necks.

"We have uncovered at the Broward Sheriff's Office that we've had approximately 20 calls for service over the last few years regarding the killer,” Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said.

Police documents show his mother repeatedly called police to the home.

Some incident reports, as recent as September 2016, describe the shooter as suffering from mental illness and being "emotionally handicapped."

None of this was enough to stop him from passing a background check and buying an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.

The FBI at one point received a tip from someone close to the shooter saying they were concerned about his violent tendencies.

“The caller provided information about Nikolas Cruz and the potential of him becoming a school shooter,” said Robert Lasky, the special agent in charge of the FBI's Miami Division.

The bureau never acted. FBI Director Christopher Wray said the information was never relayed to the Miami field office.

Meanwhile, a community tries to heal.

Parkland Mayor Christine Hunschofsky said the school district plans to tear down the building where the shooting happened.

On Saturday, there will be a rally to support firearm safety legislation in the wake of the tragedy.

In Washington, the effects of the shooting are also reverberating.

In the wake of that FBI’s disclosure about missing the crucial tip, both the chairs of the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees are expected to open investigations into agency protocol over how the information fell through the cracks

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