A man in California was arrested after he allegedly posed as the Parkland, Florida, school shooter on Instagram to harass and threaten victims' families over a period of several weeks, authorities said.
According to a criminal complaint filed in Florida, Brandon Fleury used handles like "nikolas.killed.your.sister," "nik.taunts," and "nikolasthemurderer," named after the school shooter, Nikolas Cruz, who according to court documents admitted to gunning down 17 of his classmates at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine's Day in 2018. He remains in custody as he awaits his trial.
Fleury was charged with one count of making threats in interstate communications and one count of cyberstalking.
As of Wednesday, it appeared that Instagram had taken down some but not all of the accounts.
According to the complaint, Fleury used Instagram between Dec. 22, 2018, and Jan. 11, 2019, to harass friends and family members of the victims of Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting, including making a kidnapping threat on Christmas Day. He tagged their accounts in posts "cheering the deaths of their loved ones and, among other things, asking them to cry," the complaint states.
Fleury allegedly sent dozens of messages, including "I killed your loved ones hahaha," "I took Jaime away from you," "Did you like my Valentines gift? I killed your friends," and "With the power of my AR-15, I erased their existence" accompanied by "smiling, applause, and handgun emojis," the complaint states.
The FBI notes that he showed no remorse when questioned.
He also impersonated Ted Bundy, a serial kidnapper and killer, via the username "teddykillspeople" and threatened to kidnap victims' friends and family members, the complaint adds.
Fleury used at least five Instagram accounts that the FBI traced to an IP address in Santa Ana, California, where he lived with his father and brother. The FBI said Fleury, who has since been extradited to Florida, used similar language and emojis across the accounts.
"Fleury provided a post-Miranda statement admitting to creating at least some of the Instagram profiles and posting the messages in an attempt to taunt or 'troll' the victims and gain popularity," the affidavit states. He also allegedly admitted to targeting people based on the size of their social media followings.
A spokeswoman for Instagram declined to discuss the specifics of the case, saying the company routinely responds to requests from law enforcement. Fleury's father, Patrick, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.