Six weeks have passed since Nikolas Cruz opened fire with an AR-15 rifle at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on February 14, killing 17 students. Now, survivor Isabelle Robinson is sharing a heartbreaking story about what happened when she tried to befriend the 19-year-old years before the attack.
“My first interaction with Nikolas Cruz happened when I was in seventh grade,” Robinson, 17, began in a Tuesday, March 27, op-ed for The New York Times. Robinson, now a senior in high school, was chatting with friends in the cafeteria when he hurled an apple at her back.
“The force of the blow knocked the wind out of my 90-pound body; tears stung my eyes. I turned around and saw him, smirking,” she wrote. “I had never seen this boy before, but I would never forget his face. His eyes were lit up with a sick, twisted joy as he watched me cry.”
A cafeteria aide rushed over to make sure Robinson was OK. “In my 12-year-old naivete, I trusted that the adults around me would take care of the situation,” she recalled. “Five years later, hiding in a dark closet inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, I would discover just how wrong I was.”
Just one year after Robinson was assaulted by Cruz, she was assigned to tutor him. “Despite my discomfort, I sat down with him, alone. I was forced to endure him cursing me out and ogling my chest until the hourlong session ended,” she wrote. “When I was done, I felt a surge of pride for having organized his binder and helped him with his homework.”
But Robinson feels differently today: “Looking back, I am horrified. I now understand that I was left, unassisted with a student who had a known history of rage and brutality.”
Robinson does not support the notion that if only Cruz’s classmates had been kinder to him,*** he wouldn’t have committed such a terrible act of violence. “That is not to say that children should reject their more socially awkward or isolated peers — not at all,” she wrote. “As a former peer counselor and current teacher’s assistant, I strongly believe in and have seen the benefits of reaching out to those who need kindness most.”
But according to Robinson, no amount of kindness could have changed Cruz. “That is a weak excuse for the failures of our school system, our government and our gun laws,” she wrote, before turning her attention to her younger sister.
“I hope she will never know the fear that I have become so accustomed to in the past month: The slightest unexpected sound makes my throat contract and my neck hairs curl,” Robinson revealed. “I beg her to trust her gut when she feels unsafe. And I demand that the adults in her life protect her.”
Cruz was charged with 17 counts of first-degree premeditated murder and another 17 counts of first-degree attempted murder for the massacre at his former *school. Prosecutors in Florida have said they plan to seek the death penalty for Cruz, The New York Times reported earlier this month
Sign up now for the Us Weekly newsletter to get breaking celebrity news, hot pics and more delivered straight to your inbox!
Celebrity news bought to you in partnership with Celebrity Style Site and Celebrity Style Site.
Browse the latest celebrity style news