Q: Is the Florida school shooter a registered Democrat?
A: No. Nikolas Cruz isn’t even registered to vote.
Nikolas Jacob Cruz, 19, was arrested on Feb. 14 for a deadly mass shooting at his former high school in Parkland, Florida. Misinformation about him has been spreading rapidly on the internet since then.
One story circulating on Facebook claims that Cruz is a registered Democrat. He is not. According to records from the Florida Department of State, he is not a registered voter.
The story making that claim originated on a conservative website called Gateway Pundit with the headline: “BREAKING: Don’t Let The MAGA Hat Fool You, Hispanic Shooter ‘Nicolas de Jesus Cruz’ Was A Registered Democrat.”
That site has since changed its original post and replaced the headline with this one: “UPDATE: Nicolas de Jesus Cruz was not Registered as Democrat as Some Sources Reported.”
Others, though, believed the claim and made comments like this: “It is beginning to appear, from all these shootings, that being a democrat or having an affinity to progressive thought, is a red flag indicator of a potential mass shooter!”
The story also gets the shooter’s name wrong — according to the Broward County Sheriff’s arrest report, his name is Nikolas Jacob Cruz.
It also refers to a picture that has been used in a number of media reports and is purported to show Cruz wearing a red cap bearing President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.” The photo came from a now-deleted Instagram account under the name “nikolascruzmakarov.” There is a snapshot of the account on the Internet Archive, but it was captured on Feb. 14, the day of the shooting, and there has been no official verification that the account belonged to Cruz.
Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to help identify and label false stories flagged by readers on the social media network.
Anderson, Curt. “Life or death main decision for school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz.” Associated Press. 18 Feb 2018.
Wintrich, Lucian. “BREAKING: Don’t Let The MAGA Hat Fool You, Hispanic Shooter ‘Nicolas de Jesus Cruz’ Was A Registered Democrat.” Gateway Pundit. 14 Feb 2018.
Broward County Sheriff’s Office. Booking Report for Nikolas Jacob Cruz. 15 Feb 2018.
Instagram. “nikolascruzmakarov” account. Internet Archive. 14 Feb 2018.