Former student opens fire at Florida high school, 17 people confirmed dead
Seventeen people were killed during a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Wednesday afternoon, the sheriff’s office confirmed.
The victims were a mixture of students and adults. One suspect has been taken into custody.
Deputies from the Coral Springs Police Department responded to reports of a shooting at 5901 Pine Island Rd. at 3:15 p.m. local time.
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel identified a former student of the high school, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, as the suspect during a press conference. He didn’t give details of when the suspect had attended the school but says he wasn’t currently enrolled.
Police stated that Cruz, who has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder, had been expelled from the school for reasons that have not been made public.
The FBI revealed the following day that the bureau had received previous warnings about suspects with the same name as the alleged shooter.
FBI agent Rob Lasky says the FBI investigated a 2017 YouTube comment that said “I’m going to be a professional school shooter”; but the agency couldn’t identify the person making the comment.
WARNING: Video contains disturbing content. Viewer discretion advised. Nightmare scene inside Florida classroom as shooter opens fire
The attack began outside the school, said the sheriff. Twelve of the victims were found dead in the school, two outside the school and one was found on the street.
Florida Sen. Bill Nelson said in an interview with CNN that the attacker “set off the fire alarm so the kids would come pouring out of their classrooms and into the hall.”
“And there the carnage began,” added Nelson, who said he was briefed on the attack by the FBI.
A total of 16 people were wounded during the shooting, two of which died while in medical care. Cruz was also brought to hospital, where he was treated and then released to police.
Once detained, the gunman surrendered to police without a struggle. Investigators believe he was armed with an AR-15-style rifle and had multiple magazines of ammunition.
“He was taken into arrest without incident,” he said.
The sheriff told reporters that the shooter open fired at the school on Wednesday afternoon, killing “numerous” people. The shooting reportedly sent frightened students running into the streets as SWAT members quickly swarmed the building.
Israel also said the FBI has stepped in and will begin processing what he describes as a “horrific scene.”
“This is a terrible day … This is catastrophic,” he added.
The sheriff’s office said on Twitter that the school immediately went into lockdown after the shooter open fired, but has since allowed students to leave the school. The sheriff’s office also tweeted that it received reports of multiple injuries.
WATCH: Heavily-armed tactical officers were seen responding to to the scene of a shooting at school in Parkland, FL on Wednesday.
Videos showed emergency vehicles and tactical units on the scene and students coming out of the building with their hands over their heads.
Shortly after the shooting was reported, police warned teachers and students barricaded inside the school to remain inside until directed by police, and have warned all pedestrians to avoid the area.
WATCH: Multiple people dead, suspect arrested without incident in Florida school shooting
Several branches of government and law enforcement held a joint press conference on Wednesday night, including the Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, the FBI, the Attorney General of Florida and the Governor of Florida.
During the conference, Attorney General Pam Bodi of Florida declared that her office would pay for all the funeral expenses for the victim’s families. She also said her office would pay for counselling for the families, and for the students who survived the shooting.
In addition, Florida Gov. Rick Scott commented on the shooting, calling it “absolutely, pure evil.”
Israel declined to offer much information about the victims of the shooting during the conference. He said that 12 of the 17 victims had been identified, and that one of them was a football coach from the high school.
He said that citizens who observe individuals online “with rifles and weaponry” that seem keen to commit an act of violence, “owe it to law enforcement, owe it to their families,” to report it.
Robert Runcie, superintendent with the Broward County Public Schools, and Florida Sen. Bill Nelson also told media shortly after the incident that there were several fatalities.
WATCH: A shooting at a Florida High School has left 17 dead. Jackson Proskow reports on the chaotic scene as parents rushed to find their children.
“It’s a horrific situation,” Runcie told reporters. He said that there was no evidence of more than one shooter. “It is a horrible day for us,” he added.
Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut made a statement on the Senate floor on Wednesday afternoon about the Parkland shooting, blaming incidents like this on “our inaction.”
“This happens nowhere else other than the United States of America — this epidemic of mass slaughter, this scourge of school shooting after school shooting,” said Murphy.
He added that this marks the 18th school shooting in the United States this year. As of Jan. 25, Global News reported that 11 school shootings had taken place in the U.S. in 2018.
U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted about the incident on Wednesday afternoon, offering condolences to the families of those affected by the shooting.
“No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school,” wrote the president.
He also added that he had spoken to Florida Gov. Scott about the shooting, which the governor confirmed during the press conference. The president held a press conference the following day where he vowed to “tackle the difficult issue of mental health.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also tweeted his condolences to the families impacted by the shooting. “Canadians have you in our hearts,” read the tweet.
Gov. Scott confirmed during the press conference that a thorough investigation was underway.
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