'He had a devious, devious plot in mind': co-worker of alleged school shooter
(CBS 12) —
We’re now getting a new look at the monster behind the madness at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school that left 17 students and teachers dead, and injured 14 others.
At a vigil at Florida Atlantic University on Friday night, CBS 12 met with Brian Hamlen, 19, who worked with the suspected shooter, Nikolas Cruz, 19.
The two worked at a Dollar Tree in Parkland for the last three months. They even went to school at Douglas High School until Cruz got kicked out for threatening other students.
Hamlen says now that he looks back, he can so many red flags that so many people missed.
“He didn't seem like the kid who could do something like this,” Hamlen said, who called Cruz a friend for the past three months.
Hameln, a freshman at FAU, felt as though he knew Cruz pretty well, but now knows he had been deceived.
“He was a nice kid or so we thought,” Hamlen said until he realized that Cruz was the gunman who went on the deadly rampage at their school on Wednesday.
“I still can't believe that he would do this,” Hamlen said in disbelief.
The night before the carnage, Hamlen saw Cruz at the store when Hamlen and his father went to buy Valentine’s Day cards. Cruz was at the register.
“How you been,” recalls Hamlen as they made small talk. “He goes, good. I got my new AK-47 today.”
It wasn’t a big surprise or red flag, Hamlen says because the two talked about guns practically every day.
He called it the foundation of their friendship.
“He was like a dictionary on this stuff,” Hamlen said listing gun after gun after gun.
It was only recently that Cruz, he says, started talking about tactics. Hamlen had no idea what was about to happen.
“That should have raised a red flag for me that he starts talking about tactics,” Hamlen said.
Both were strong supporters of the second amendment, though Hamlen believes that laws need to change so an incident like this doesn’t happen again.
Hamlen, a 2017 alumnus, was good friends with Assistant Football Coach Aaron Feis as well as Helena Ramsey, two of the 17 shot in cold blood.
We asked him if he blamed anyone besides himself for not telling anyone.
“Multiple people aside from the FBI had known this. There were people at school when I was there, and throwing these things around that he's going to do it,” Hamlen told us.
And with one of the deadliest shootings in the country here in our backyard, Hamlen can’t believe Cruz deceived him.
“At the time you know, I thought It was just his passion,” he said about Cruz’s fascination with guns. “But it turns out he had a devious, devious plot in mind.”
Hameln and Cruz were supposed to go to the gun range this weekend. Instead, families are burying their children.
Hamlen has contacted the FBI to share his story. CBS12 reached out to investigators to share the story.