A suspected gunman has been arrested after opening fire on a Florida
high school on Ash Wednesday, leaving as many as seven dead and up to 50 injured.
The ‘heavily armed’ shooter, named by police sources to DailyMail.com as former student Nicolas de Jesus Cruz, 19, entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, armed with what appears to be an assault rifle, and began shooting at just after 2pm.
Broward Sheriff confirmed that ‘we have at least 14 victims’ although he did not specify whether they had been injured or killed. Florida Senator Bill Nelson told Fox News there were ‘many deaths’.
Sources told CBS at least seven people had been confirmed dead.
Students barricaded themselves into their classrooms, while others were seen running out of the building with their hands in their air as police and SWAT teams swarmed the school. Those fleeing the school, in single file, each threw their backpack into a large pile and huddled together under trees across the street.
At around 4pm, two hours after the shooter first opened fire, police and SWAT teams took him into custody. Police describe him as a student and a former member of the U.S. Army Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program.
Video shows him wearing a maroon or burgundy colored top as he was put in the back of a cruiser by half a dozens officers.
Scroll down for video
The suspect, wearing a maroon colored top, is taken into custody two hours after opening fire on his high school
The ‘heavily armed’ shooter, named by police sources to DailyMail.com as former student Nicolas de Jesus Cruz, was handcuffed as he was led to the car
Police described the gunman as a student and member of the U.S. Army Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program. The suspect is pictured being taken into custody
Shocking: Victims of the shooting were being treated on the sidewalk while the gunman was reported to still be at large and law enforcement officers from multiple agencies were flooding the area
Police are responding to the incident at Majory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida
A student, on a stretcher, is loaded into the back of an ambulance after the mass shooting on Wednesday afternnoon
An injured student was loaded into the ambulance by multiple emergency responders as crews tried to help the more than 50 hurt in the shooting
Police cars and a helicopter are seen in Coral Springs after the shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
Police surrounded Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where the ‘heavily armed’ shooter, wearing a gas mask, pulled out a ‘long’ gun at just after 2pm and began shooting
The school district stated that the shooting happened shortly before dismissal time when students heard what sounded like gunfire.
Horrifying video, filmed from inside a classroom at the school, captured the moment the shooter, who was wearing a gas mask, burst in and began shooting at his fellow students who were screaming in terror.
The students sat or lay on the floor of the classroom, trying to avoid being hit, as rapid gunfire was heard nearby. One girl’s hysterical screams were suddenly cut off during the shocking clip.
Desperate parents and relatives of students still locked down in the high school rushed to the scene to find out if their children were among the injured.
One mother, Michelle, whose daughter was inside, said there at least 20 students and teachers still barricaded in the school buildings. The unnamed mom said her daughter sent her a text that said: ‘There’s been a shooting in school … and it’s for real.’
Parents wait for news after a reports of a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida
Anxious family members wait for news of students as two people embrace, in Parkland, Florida where a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School sent students rushing into the streets
Horrifying video, filmed from inside a classroom at the school, captured the moment the shooter, who was wearing a gas mask, burst in and began shooting at his fellow students who were screaming in terror
The students sat or lay on the floor of the classroom, trying to avoid being hit, as rapid gunfire was heard nearby. One girl’s hysterical screams were suddenly cut off during the shocking clip
Speaking outside the police perimeter, she said: ‘She was texting me up until about four minutes ago and now she’s not responding and I’m getting nervous. Last she texted me she was in a building from across where the shooting was at. I’m on pins and needles because she isn’t responding to me now.’
TIMELINE OF FLORIDA SCHOOL SHOOTING
2.25pm: Gunshots ring out through the corridors of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The school goes into immediate lockdown.
2.30pm: Authorities respond to an active shooter at the school in Parkland where they say the shooter is still active.
3.pm: Hundreds of students flee the school with their hands raised as SWAT arrives to tackle the ongoing situation
3.30pm: Students and teachers begin posting harrowing footage from inside the school where they are trapped and unable to leave their classrooms.
4pm: Just after 4 p.m., Broward County Sheriff’s Office announced on Twitter that a suspect had been apprehended
4.30pm: The suspect – named as Nikolas Cruz – was transported handcuffed and via ambulance to local hospital where he was placed under armed guard.
CBS Miami reporter Rick Folbaum said he was exchanging messages with a child still inside, who is hiding in a closet.
‘I’m continuing to text with a student, a young girl who I know well, who is in the building right now who told me that she heard a loud noise and what sounded like gunfire, three shots’, he said.
‘She texted: All of a sudden there was a really loud noise…..people are crying the closet.’
A father named Caesar Figueroa told CBS: ‘My daughter is with a friend and is trapped in a closet. She is afraid to talk out loud. It’s like a war zone here with cops, machine guns, helicopters. The FBI is here, everyone is here. I told my daughter not to call me because I don’t want anyone to hear her voice.’
Photographs taken by students inside the school showed them crouching behind piles of chairs and hiding behind desks.
The shooter reportedly fled the building when police arrived mixing in with others students leaving the school.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is in Parkland – Florida’s safest city last year.
Video showed students being loaded into ambulances or even treated on the ground at the scene.
The school remains on lockdown.
Coral Springs police have advised people to avoid the neighborhood while the active shooter situation is underway.
President Donald Trump has tweeted about the shooting to offer his condolences to the victims.
Majory Stoneman Douglas High School is located in Parkland, west of Boca Raton, in Florida
Treated on scene: Television footage showed police in olive fatigues, with weapons drawn, entering the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, then dozens of children frantically running and walking quickly out.
A shooting at a Florida high school Wednesday sent students rushing out into the streets as SWAT team members swarmed in and locked down the building
Boxed in: The school building seen from an aerial. President Trump ‘has been made aware of the school shooting in Florida,’ said Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters
Response: Multiple fire trucks and EMTs arrived on scene after the Broward School District said around 2:40 p.m., staff and students heard what sounded like gunfire
‘My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting. No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school,’ he wrote.
He added that he’d spoken with Florida Governor Rick Scott and ‘we are working closely with law enforcement on the terrible Florida school shooting.’
White House deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters said in a statement, ‘The president has been made aware of the school shooting in Florida. We are monitoring the situation. Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected.’
Police asked parents to tell children still inside to ‘remain calm and barricaded until police come to their room’.
The Broward County Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie confirmed there had been ‘numerous fatalities.’
In a brief press conference at 4.15pm, Runcie told reporters: ‘I don’t know the number that’s been transported at this point, but there are numerous fatalities. It’s a horrific situation.’
Cops arrived on the scene of the shooting where victims were being carried out to the front lawn
Video showed at least five people being treated by paramedics at the scene while students were led away from the school in a line
Runcie said the shooter may be a former student, and that he worked alone.
‘Yes, it is potentially some former student,’ Runcie said. ‘That individual, we believe, is in custody at the moment.’
A student, who was not identified, but claims to know Cruz told WSVN he was obsessed with guns and showed him pictures of them on his phone.
‘He’s been a troubled kid and he’s always had a certain amount of issues going on. He shot guns because he felt it gave him, I guess, an exhilarating feeling.’
He added that Cruz made him nervous.
‘I stayed clear of him most of the time. My time in alternate school, I did not want to be with him at all because I didn’t want to cause any conflict with him because of the impression he gave off.’
The incident comes just a few weeks after a 15-year-old boy opened fire at his rural Kentucky high school, killing two and injuring more than two dozen others.