A Florida teenager has applied to change his name because he shares it with the expelled student accused in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre.
Calls from the media flooded the home of Nikolas Marciel Cruz after a gunman opened fire at the school on Feb. 14, 2018, killing 17 and injuring many more.
Nikolas Marciel Cruz lives in Sunrise, which neighbors Parkland, where Stoneman Douglas is located. He also is a teenager, but reporters had the wrong number, his mother Ivonne Moran told the Associated Press.
It was the first of many instances where her son was confused for the teen allegedly responsible for the shooting, who authorities identified as Nikolas Jacob Cruz.
Fearful of how he would be treated at his own school the day after the shooting, Moran decided to keep her son home. And it appeared her instincts were correct, as she recalled a time where a man recoiled after her son introduced himself.
“Oh my god!” the man exclaimed after Nikolas Marciel Cruz introduced himself, Moran said.
Moran named her son after the actor Nicolas Cage, but slightly changed the spelling to give the moniker a bit more originality. And though Nikolas Marciel Cruz, who has high-functioning autism, plans to keep his first name, he wants a chance to start anew when he begins college, where he plans to study history, his mother said.
He has applied with the courts to change his name to Nikolas Rene Moran and should have a hearing before a judge within 90 days, the AP reported.
“He’s not proud of his name anymore,” Moran said.