Sheriff: ‘Multiple’ Dead In FL High School Shooting, Suspect In Custody

Students are released from a lockdown outside of Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. after reports of an active shooter on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (John McCall/Sun Sentinel/TNS)
Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service

Police on Wednesday said that at least 17 people had died following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The alleged shooter remained at large for more than an hour before his arrest, according to police.

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, speaking to reporters at around 6:30 p.m. ET, said that “17 people lost their lives.”

“Twelve people within the building, two people just outside the building, one person on Pine Island Road and two people lost their lives in the hospital,” he said. “There are people that are still undergoing surgery.” 

“There are certainly students and there are certainly adults” among the dead, Israel said later.

He identified the suspect as Nikolas Cruz, 19, and said investigators were looking into Cruz’s online profiles. “Some of the things that have come to mind are very very disturbing,” he said of Cruz’s online presence, noting that Cruz had been expelled from Stoneman Douglas for disciplinary reasons.

“We believe he had one AR-15 rifle, I don’t know if he had a second one,” Israel said, referring to the popular semi-automatic weapon used in numerous mass shootings in the past. He said Cruz had “countless magazines, multiple magazines” of ammunition.

He added separately: “We continually ask you in the media to continually put out the message: If you see something, say something. If anybody has any indicator that someone’s going through a behavioral change, or on their social media that there are disturbing photos, perhaps bombs or firearms or just videos or pictures that are just not right, please make sure law enforcement knows about it.” 

Earlier, just after 5:00 p.m., Israel told reporters that “from what I understand, there was a time where he did attend the school. I don’t know why he left. I don’t know when he left,” Israel said, adding: “He was taken into arrest without incident.”

“I don’t know how many injuries there were, but we know 14 people were transported to area hospitals with varying degrees of wounds,” he said.

“He carried multiple guns,” one student told WFOR in an interview later aired by CNN. “He showed me his guns. I was kicked out of school myself and I saw what guns he had. He showed me personally. A lot of time the kids wouldn’t pick on him because they knew what could go on. They were scared.”

“A lot of people were saying that it was going to be him,” the student added. “Everyone predicted it, that’s crazy.”

The Miami Herald first identified Cruz as the suspect. According to the Herald, Cruz had been identified as a potential threat to other students in the past. Stoneman Douglas math teacher Jim Gard, who said he taught Cruz last year, told the 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,” Gard said.

Two people inside the school at the time of the shooting told WSVN on air that they heard the fire alarm and then, as they evacuated, heard shots fired.

White House deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters told pool reporters slightly after 3:00 p.m.: “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.”

Trump expressed his condolences to affected families shortly afterward:

This post has been updated.

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