Nikolas Cruz was a 'peculiar child' who 'stood out like a sore thumb,' says psychologist Frederick Kravitz

Although Kravitz suggested the then 8-year-old be brought in for weekly sessions, his mother only brought him 15 times over a 13-month period 

Nikolas Cruz was a 'peculiar child' who 'stood out like a sore thumb,' says psychologist Frederick Kravitz
Frederick Kravitz claimed Nikolas Cruz had a fear of abandonment and an active 'bad imagination' (@CBS12/Twitter screenshot and Taimy Alvarez-Pool/Getty Images)
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FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA: Nikolas Cruz's ongoing trial has shaken the audience through days of emotional testimony and graphic evidence of the deadly school shooting. A jury is set to determine if the confessed Parkland school shooter will be sentenced to death. If the jury recommends death, Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer will make the final ruling.

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A psychologist who treated Cruz when the gunman was eight years old testified he was a "peculiar child" who "stood out like a sore thumb." Retired psychologist Dr Frederick Kravitz started treating Cruz in 2007 after his mother claimed he suffered from anxiety and nervousness. Cruz also had trouble controlling his temper. 

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Cruz, as a child, was often violent towards other children who teased and bullied him for his unusual appearance and strange behavior. Kravitz said when Cruz was eight, he acted like a six-year-old and "stood out like a sore thumb." He also claimed Cruz had a fear of abandonment and had an active "bad imagination". 

Kravitz added that when he was younger, he asked Cruz what his three wishes would be, and Cruz said, "Pokemon, a dog and more Pokemon." The psychologist said that although he suggested Cruz be brought in for weekly sessions, his mother only brought him 15 times over a 13-month period. 

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He said although Lynda Cruz agreed her son needed more consistent treatment and acknowledged that she needed to be more consistent in her discipline of him, she ended up not following through. She was 57 at the time, and was depressed after her husband's death. She had a tough time dealing with her two children, Nikolas and his younger half-brother, Zachary.

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The children would allegedly throw tantrums and break furnishings. "They raised it to an art form," Kravitz said. "Nikolas was easily set off and Zachary seemed to derive some pleasure from pushing Nikolas 'buttons'." Both the boys enjoyed setting off their mother. "She lost her cool frequently and backed down to the boys frequently, which only made the problems worse," he said. Cruz reportedly also showed signs of obsessive-compulsive disorder. For example, he always had to have exactly eight chicken nuggets. Lynda died in November 2017, about four months before Cruz carried out the deadly massacre. 

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Prosecutor Jeff Marcus asked Kravitz whether there was anything about Cruz when he was eight that indicated he was capable of committing such a crime, to which Kravitz responded, "I've worked with some other very damaged kids and certainly to the best of my knowledge none of them have ever acted out like this."

Cruz, who was 19 in 2018, shot dead 14 students and three staff members at his former school Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in South Florida on February 14, 2018. He pleaded guilty to 17 counts of first-degree murder last fall in connection with the shooting.

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