Former student Nicolas Cruz, 19, entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland armed with an assault rifle and began shooting on Wednesday
The suspected gunman arrested after shooting dead 17 people and injuring up to 50 more at a Florida high school was a former student who had been expelled.
Nicolas de Jesus Cruz, 19, stormed Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Wednesday armed with an assault rifle and opened fire just after 2pm.
Broward Sheriff Scott Israel confirmed that 17 people had been killed and dozens more were injured.
Cruz was armed with at least one AR-15 rifle and had ‘multiple magazines’ when he stormed the school, according to the sheriff.
The teenager had been expelled from the school for unknown ‘disciplinary reasons’. Authorities have already started dissecting his social media accounts and reported that some of things he had been posting was ‘very disturbing’.
Traumatized students said that once they heard reports of a mass shooting at the school they knew it would be Cruz, while one teacher said he had been identified as a potential threat to his classmates last year.
Matthew Walker, a 17-year-old student at the school, told WFOR-TV that all his classmates ‘knew it was going to be him.’
‘A lot of people were saying it was going to be him,’ he said. ‘A lot of kids threw jokes around saying that he was going to be the one to shoot up the school. It turns out that everyone predicted it. That’s crazy.’
‘He was going class to class just shooting at random kids,’ he said. ‘Everything he posts (on social media) is about weapons. It’s sick.’
Math teacher Jim Gard, who taught Cruz last year, told the Miami Herald: ‘We were told last year that he wasn’t allowed on campus with a backpack on him. There were problems with him last year threatening students and I guess he was asked to leave campus.’
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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
The suspect, wearing a maroon colored top, is taken into custody two hours after opening fire on his high school
The suspected gunman was checked out at a hospital after his arrest (above in a hospital gown) and is now being held at a secure location in a public building
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
A student, on a stretcher, is loaded into the back of an ambulance after the mass shooting on Wednesday afternoon
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 said the gunman started firing before he entered the school building and left behind a deadly trail.
Twelve of the people shot dead were found dead inside the school building, two more were killed just outside the school and another in a nearby street. Two other people died later after being rushed to hospital.
Gunfire rang out at 2.25pm shortly before dismissal time, sparking panic as students barricaded themselves into their classrooms.
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 initially described him as a student and a former member of the US Army Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program.
Aerial footage showed him wearing a maroon or burgundy colored sweatshirt as he was put in the back of a cruiser by half a dozens officers.
Meanwhile, horrifying video filmed from inside a classroom captured the moment the shooter, who was wearing a gas mask, burst in and began shooting at his fellow students as they screamed in terror.
The students were spotted sitting or lying on the classroom floor, 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.’
Terrified students barricaded themselves in their classrooms as the shooter prowled the halls, armed with an assault rifle
Students shared pictures of themselves hiding in a classroom after they were advised to stay where they were until police arrested the gunman
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
Family members embrace after a student walked out from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Wednesday
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
Students were seen fleeing the building with their hands in the air, as they ran for safety from the gunman
The students sprinted away from the building and gathered at the trees on the other side of the road
Students went in single file from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School as armed SWAT response teams watched on
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
Police are responding to the incident at Majory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, 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’.
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.
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
WORST SCHOOL SHOOTINGS IN THE LAST 20 YEARS
The bloodshed in Florida was the latest outbreak of gun violence that has become a regular occurrence at U.S. schools and colleges. Below are some of the worst U.S. school shootings in the last 20 years.
BENTON, Kentucky, Jan. 23, 2018 – Gabe Parker, 15, kills two fellow students, both also 15, at Marshall County High School in western Kentucky with a pistol and wounds 14 others. Four other high schoolers suffered non-gunshot wounds in the ensuing panic.
AZTEC, New Mexico, Dec. 7, 2017 – William Atchison, a 21-year-old man, disguised as a student enters the local high school, kills two students and then shoots himself to death.
SAN BERNARDINO, California, April 10, 2017 – Cedric Anderson dies of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after killing his estranged wife at North Park Elementary School where she worked. An 8-year-old student is also shot to death.
ROSEBURG, Oregon, Oct. 1, 2015 – Chris Harper-Mercer, 26, opens fire on the campus of Umpqua Community College, killing nine people before he is shot dead by police.
MARYSVILLE, Washington, Oct. 24, 2014 – Freshman student Jaylen Fryberg, 15, at Marysville-Pilchuck High School fatally wounds four students in the cafeteria before killing himself.
SANTA MONICA, California, June 7, 2013 – A onetime digital media student, John Zawahri, 23, fatally shoots his father and brother, sets their house on fire, and then kills three people at Santa Monica College. The gunman kills himself.
NEWTOWN, Connecticut, Dec. 14, 2012 – Adam Lanza, 20, fatally shoots his mother, then kills 20 children and six adults before killing himself at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It was the deadliest mass shooting at either a high school or grade school in US history and prompted renewed debate about gun control in the United States.
OAKLAND, California, April 2, 2012 – One L Goh, a former nursing student, kills seven people and wounds three at Oikos University, a Korean Christian college.
CHARDON, Ohio, Feb. 27, 2012 – Seventeen-year-old student Thomas ‘T.J’ Lane at Chardon High School kills three students and wounds three in school cafeteria. He received three life sentences on March 19, 2013. In 2014, Lane, along with two other inmates, escaped from Allen Correctional Institution in Lima, Ohio, but he was recaptured the following day.
HUNTSVILLE, Alabama, Feb. 12, 2010 – Amy Bishop, a biology professor at the University of Alabama at Huntsville opens fire during a staff meeting, killing three faculty members and wounding three.
DEKALB, Illinois, Feb. 14, 2008 – Steve Kazmierczak, a former graduate student, kills five students and wounds 16 at Northern Illinois University before taking his own life.
BATON ROUGE, Louisiana, Feb. 8, 2008 – Nursing student Latina Williams at Louisiana Technical College kills two classmates and herself in a classroom.
BLACKSBURG, Virginia, April 16, 2007 – Gunman Seung-Hui Cho slaughters 32 people and kills himself at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, popularly known as Virginia Tech. At the time it was the deadliest shooting carried out by a single gunman in US history.
NICKEL MINES, Pennsylvania, Oct. 2, 2006 – Gunman Charles Carl Roberts IV took hostages and shot eight out of 10 girls, killing five in a one-room Amish schoolhouse, before killing himself.
SHEPHERDSTOWN, West Virginia, Sept. 2, 2006 – 49-year-old Douglas Pennington shoots himself and his two sons Logan, 26, and Benjamin, 24, to death during a visit to the campus of Shepherd University.
RED LAKE INDIAN RESERVATION, Minnesota, March 21, 2005 – A 16-year-old high school student Jeffrey Weise, kills seven people including his grandfather, a tribal police officer, and wounds several others in a shooting rampage after killing two people off-campus. He then kills himself.
COLD SPRING, Minnesota, Sept. 24, 2003 – Fifteen-year-old student John Jason McLaughlin, fatally shoots a freshman and a senior at Rocori High School.
TUCSON, Arizona, Oct. 29, 2002 – Failing student Robert S Flores Jr, 41, shoots and kills three professors and then himself at the University of Arizona School of Nursing.
GRUNDY, Virginia, Jan. 16, 2002 – Nigerian immigrant Peter Odighizuwa, a recently dismissed graduate student aged 41, kills a dean, a professor and a student at the Appalachian School of Law and wounds three others.
SANTEE, California, March 5, 2001 – Charles Andrew Williams, a student at Santana High School kills two students, wounds 13. He is currently serving life in prison.
LITTLETON, Colorado, April 20, 1999 – Two teenagers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold rampage through Columbine High School, fatally shooting 12 students and a teacher and wounding more than 20 others before killing themselves. The personal journals of the duo document that they wanted their actions to rival that of the Oklahoma City bombing.
JONESBORO, Arkansas, March 24, 1998 – Two boys Mitchell Johnson, 13, and Andrew Golden, 11, fire on their middle school from woods, killing four girls and a teacher and wounding 11 others.