Host dad who took in Florida school shooting suspect: "It's his right" to have an AR-15

The family that took in the Florida school shooting suspect says they knew Nikolas Cruz was depressed, but had no idea how troubled he really was. James and Kimberly Snead let Cruz, a friend of their son, live in their house after his mother died in November. 

"The Nik we knew was not the Nik that everybody else seemed to know," James Snead told CBS News correspondent John Blackstone.

"He pulled one over on us. As well as a lot of people," Kimberly Snead added. 


Kimberly and James Snead let Nikolas Cruz, a friend of their son, live in their house after his mother died in November.  

CBS News

Cruz had been living with the Snead family for about three months when the 19-year-old allegedly carried out the deadliest school shooting in Florida history.

"How many guns did he have?" Blackstone asked.

"I'm not sure. Five or six," James said.

"He was coming into your house and you didn't know how many guns he had?" Blackstone asked.

"I knew he had five or six; I didn't know what kind they were. It didn't matter what kind of guns they were. I have guns. I respect guns as long as they're handled properly, safely. And one of the stipulations before moving in was to have a gun safe before he moved in," James said.

"So you wanted him to have a gun safe, but you didn't know how many guns or what kind of guns they were that he would be putting in the safe?" Blackstone said.

"I knew he had hunting rifles," James responded.

"You thought they were just hunting rifles?" Blackstone asked.

"I knew he had [an] assault rifle, but I knew he used it out hunting," James said.

"That seemed a reasonable thing," Blackstone said.

"It's his right to own a gun," James responded.

"You thought it was fine for a 19-year-old to have an AR-15?" Blackstone asked.

"It's his right to have it," James said.

"Do you feel any differently about that now?" Blackstone asked.

"No. Nope," James said. 

According to a Florida Department of Children and Families report, Cruz suffered from depression, ADHD and autism. Between 2011 and 2016, Broward County sheriff deputies were called to Cruz's mother's home 39 times, several of them allegedly due to Cruz's violent outbursts.

"Did it worry you, him having access to guns?" Blackstone asked the Sneads.

"No, he was just depressed. We thought he was just depressed over his mother's death," James said.       

"Were there any signs of trouble beyond his depression?" Blackstone asked.

"No," Kimberly said. "We put him on a positive path, trying to heal. And he just blew it. Just--"

"Floored us," James said.

"Absolutely floored us," Kimberly said.

"Ruined his future, ruined the future of 17 others, and their families," Blackstone said.

"Their families," Kimberly said.

"Very selfish act," James said.

"Do you feel any responsibility?" Blackstone asked.

"We feel heartfelt sorrow for the families involved. As far as being responsible, feeling responsibility, you know we worked that out and there was nothing different we would have done," James responded.

James also told CBS News he thought there was only one key to the gun safe where he made Cruz keep his weapons. But James now believes there were actually two keys – and Cruz had the other.