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Parents of slain girl say a strong family may have prevented Nikolas Cruz's shooting spree

Parents of slain girl say a strong family may have prevented Nikolas Cruz's shooting spree

(Courtesy Petty family)



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SALT LAKE CITY — The support of a strong family might have stopped confessed shooter Nikolas Cruz from killing 17 people at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, say the parents of a 14-year-old girl who died in the attack.

Ryan and Kelly Petty ache over the loss of their daughter, Alaina, a freshman who was scheduled to have a bracket replaced on her braces the afternoon she was shot. Her funeral drew 1,500 people on Monday. "There are no words to fill the hole we feel in our lives," Ryan Petty told the Deseret News.

But the Pettys said they started to learn details about Cruz, 19, who confessed to the shootings in statements to police, even before they learned that Alaina had died. He is responsible for his actions, they say, but he needed love and help he didn't get, especially after his adoptive parents died.

[To read the full story go to DeseretNews.com](<http://www.ksl.com/ad_logger/ad_logger.php?location=https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900011165/parents-of-slain-girl-say-a-strong-family-may-have-prevented-nikolas-cruzs-shooting-spree.html&sponsor=Parents of slain girl say a strong family may have prevented Nikolas Cruz's shooting spree>).

Tad Walch

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