SUNRISE, Fla. -- The head of a commission investigating the Parkland shooting said Tuesday that the suspect's own late mother allowed her son to buy a gun, even though his mental health counselors were against it.

  • Public Safety Commission: Parkland suspect's mom let him buy a gun
  • Investigators say teen suspect had a troubled mental health past
  • Commission delving into shooting causes, how to prevent future tragedies

That finding was one of several new details revealed during a meeting of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission, formed in response to the February shooting that left 17 dead in an effort to better understand how this was able to happen in the first place.

What has become clearer is that the gunman had a very troubled past -- yet those involved failed to communicate what they knew.

This was supposed to be the summer that Carmen Schentrup prepared for the new challenge of college. But she never got the chance to cross the graduation stage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High.

"Not a day goes by I don't think about Carmen," said April Schentrup, whose daughter, Carmen, was killed the Parkland shooting. "Not a day goes by I don't cry. But I also understand there's more to life than mourning her."

Like many Parkland parents, April Schentrup wants to know what could have been done to stop a troubled teen -- armed with a gun -- from walking through the school's doors and taking 17 lives.

It's why April Schentrup is front row as the Public Safety Commission dives into the abyss of endless questions in search for answers. 

"Lack of communications between different organizations," Schentrup said.

Carmen Schentrup was 1 of 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in February. Now, her mother, April, is closely following the findings of the Public Safety Commission, hoping to understand the events that led to her daughter's death and how tragedies can be prevented in the future. (Courtesy of Schentrup family)

Not only did law enforcement have 39 past interactions with the accused high school gunman, but mental health counselors also had at least 140 contacts with the troubled teen, commission members said.

"You have people who were providing services to (Nikolas) Cruz, but they weren’t necessarily sharing everything back and forth so someone had a 360 view," said Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, who is chairman of the Public Safety Commission.

He said their investigation is revealing many cracks in communication -- including the fact the school district is unaware of whether the alleged gunman ever showed up to an arrest diversion program after being caught vandalizing school property in 2013.

"It would have no bearing on his ability to own, possess, or purchase a firearm," Gualtieri said. "It wouldn't have impacted any other law enforcement contact."

Schentrup said she hopes the commission will reveal the cracks so they can be sealed to prevent another tragedy like this from happening.

"... You have to understand the problem to make sure solutions presented actually make sense," Schentrup said.

Communication remained a crucial point during the crisis response to Parkland as well: Deputies on the ground apparently could not talk with one another as they were trying to figure out the exact location of the gunman, the commission determined.

That will be the focus for the full day's session when the commission meets again Wednesday.