Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old who charged with murdering 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, honed his marksmanship skills in a school program supported by the NRA. Cruz was, according to the Associated Press, a member of the school’s four-person varsity marksmanship team, which received a $10,000 grant from the NRA in 2016.
MSD JROTC Marksmanship team would like to thank the NRA for their grateful donation of nearly $10,000 to upgrade and replenish equipment! pic.twitter.com/HhBwHIMl1n
— MSDJROTC (@MSDJROTC1) September 21, 2016
The marksmanship team was part of the schools’ JROTC program. On the team, Cruz trained with “air rifles special-made for target shooting, typically on indoor ranges at targets the size of a coin.”
Cruz discussed his AR-15 with other team members and was given the nickname “Wolf.” Another member of the team described him as “a very good shot.”
The NRA declined to comment on the donation. In 2015, the NRA Foundation gave $2.2 million in similar grants promoting gun use to schools around the country. This includes grants “to elementary and middle schools.”
The NRA Foundation’s website says it’s “investing in the next generation of America’s leaders” by devoting “a significant majority” of the group’s grants to “youth shooting sports.”
The NRA Foundation operates the Friends of the NRA program, which raises money for youth shooting sports as a way of recruiting young activists to fight gun regulation.
Friends of the NRA describes itself as “a 100% grassroots effort fueled by a united front to secure the Second Amendment and raise money for the shooting sports.”
The NRA has been actively commenting on the Parkland massacre on social media, arguing that the only way to prevent future tragedies is more guns.