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FBI arrests Instagram ‘troll’ accused of impersonating Parkland gunman

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Prosecutors have accused a man of sending threatening and harassing messages on Instagram to relatives and friends of people killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Brandon Fleury, a resident of Santa Ana, California, admitted to sending the threatening messages for nearly three weeks using numerous Instagram accounts, according to a criminal complaint filed in the US District Court of Southern Florida and seen by INSIDER.

“One post threatened to kidnap the message recipients, while others sought to harass the recipients by repeatedly taunting the relatives and friends of the [high school] victims, cheering the deaths of their loved ones and, among other things, asking them to cry,” the affidavit said.

Following the search warrant on his home last week, Fleury admitted to creating multiple Instagram profiles referencing Nikolas Cruz, the Parkland shooting gunman who killed 17 people.

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At least five accounts with usernames like “nikolas.killed.your.sister,” “the.douglas.shooter,” and “nikolasthemurderer,” were traced to an IP address linked to Fleury’s home during the course of a law-enforcement investigation.

Some of the messages contained emojis with applauding hands, a smiling face, and a handgun:

“I killed your loved ones hahaha”

“With the power of my AR-15, I erased their existence”

“I gave them no mercy”

“They had their whole lives ahead of them and I f—–g stole it from them”

“Did you like my Valentines gift? l killed your friends.”

“Little [AS] will never play music again,” said one message on New Year’s Eve, in an apparent reference to the death of 14-year-old student Alex Schachter, who performed for the school’s marching band and orchestra.

Fleury said in a statement that he posted the messages “in an attempt to taunt or ‘troll’ the victims and gain popularity,” according to the FBI. Fleury also claimed he had a “fascination” with Cruz and other mass shooters, and specifically targeted the victims’ family, who he alleged were “activists” with a large following on social media.

Multiple news outlets cited authorities who said Fleury did not show remorse for his actions.

Law-enforcement officials investigated similar threats made on Instagram last year. Two days after the Parkland shooting, a 15-year-old Florida teen was arrested for threatening to kill people in the same school district. The teen at the time “appeared to be remorseful and claimed his post was a joke,” according to the Broward Country Sheriff’s Office.

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