The woman who cared for the alleged Parkland school shooter after the death of his mother spoke publicly Tuesday for the first time, saying she did everything she could to keep him calm and away from guns.
Rocxanne Deschamps held a press conference in New York, flanked by her new attorney, Gloria Allred. In it, she described her efforts to alert authorities about Nikolas Cruz prior to the shooting that left 17 people dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14.
"I did everything I could to warn law enforcement about what could happen. I wanted to protect, not only my own children, but also anyone else who might be at risk of being harmed," she said.
"I also wanted to protect Nikolas from himself. Unfortunately, although I did everything I could, I was not able to stop this tragedy from taking place.”
Cruz and his brother, Zachary, moved in with Deschamps after their mother died of pneumonia in November.
Cruz so frightened her that she called 911 three times. In response, police said there was nothing they could do to stop him from possessing guns, she said.
Deschamps was friends with the boys' mother, Lynda, and said she promised she would look out for them if anything happened to her.
Lynda was also afraid of Nikolas and said he had once held a gun to her head, Deschamps told reporters. Deschamps said she was worried about Cruz having a gun.
“I told the police about prior incidents that I knew of in which Nikolas had put a gun to his mother’s head and to his brother’s head. I also told them about other warning signs.
"I was very concerned that the gun, which he had purchased, might be brought into my house or that he might get the gun and use it to harm himself or others. Law enforcement said that nothing could be done," she said.
"My heart goes out to the 17 victims in the shooting who were killed to the 17 who were injured and to all their families, to everyone who was placed in fear that terrible day at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. I did everything I could to warn law enforcement about what could happen,” she said.
She stills cares for Zachary, she said. But Zachary spent Monday night in jail after being arrested for skateboarding through the Parkland campus. He was being held on $500,000 bail and charged with misdemeanor trespassing, despite the protests of his attorney, who said the teen was being punished for his brother's acts.
A judge has ordered Zachary to wear an ankle monitor and to stay at least one mile away from the campus. He was also ordered to have no contact with his brother or anyone at the school.