In a private Instagram group chat, confessed school shooter Nikolas Cruz repeatedly espoused racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic views and displayed an obsession with violence and guns. CNN, investigating comments the shooter may have left on a now-deleted YouTube channel, was added to the private Instagram group by one of the active members in it. The responding group members, who appear to be younger than 18, have refused to confirm their identities to CNN on or off the record.
Racism was a constant theme in the chat group, which was called “Murica (American flag emoji) (eagle emoji) great” — a name it was given by Cruz. The hatred he and others in the group espoused met little resistance from its active members. In one part of the group chat, Cruz wrote that he hated, “jews, ni**ers, immigrants.” He talked about killing Mexicans, keeping black people in chains and cutting their necks. The statements were not made in jest.
There are hundreds of racist messages, racist memes and racist Instagram videos posted in the group. After one member expressed hatred for gay people, Cruz agreed, saying, “Shoot them in the back of head.” White women drew Cruz’s hatred as well, specifically those in interracial relationships, whom he referred to repeatedly as traitors.