America rocked by another high school mass shooting
At least 17 people were killed and 15 injured after a shooter opened fire in a South Florida high school on Wednesday afternoon.
Police have identified the suspected gunman as a former student, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz. Cruz was expelled from the school for “disciplinary reasons.”
A troubled former student armed with an assault-style rifle returned to his Parkland, Florida high school on Wednesday and opened fire, killing at least 17 people and injuring 15, officials said.
Officials said the suspected gunman, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, first began shooting outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, located about 24 miles from Fort Lauderdale, before barging inside. Wearing a gas mask and armed with smoke grenades, he pulled a fire alarm in order to lure students out of classrooms, according to Florida Sen. Bill Nelson (D), who said he had been briefed by law enforcement. Cruz then bombarded students and staffers with bullets before blending in with the panicked crowd to escape.
“He went up and down the hallway just banging and shooting into the classrooms,” one student, Natalie, told CBS News. “He shot through my door and broke my window.”
Madison Sheib, a 15-year-old sophomore at the school, was working on a study sheet in her math class when she heard gunshots. She first thought they were the sounds of chairs being shuffled on the floor above her. When she and other students realized what it was, they ran for cover.
“We ran into a corner and turned off all the lights,” Sheib told HuffPost. “We just kept hearing gunshots and screaming.”
The school, in the suburban community about 15 miles northwest of Fort Lauderdale, was quickly placed on lockdown. Police detained Cruz nearly two hours later, just before 4 p.m. Eastern time, according to the Broward County Sheriff’s Department.
Three victims remain at Broward Health North hospital in critical condition, while three others are in stable condition, hospital officials said just after 7 p.m. Among the dead is a high school football coach, who police declined to name but family and friends identified as assistant coach and security guard Aaron Feis. The son of a deputy sheriff was wounded.
Wednesday’s attack marks the 18th school shooting of 2018.
At a news conference Wednesday evening, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said that the gunman used an AR-15 assault-style rifle and had “multiple magazines” on him.
Twelve of his victims died inside the school building, two outside of the building, one on a nearby street and two others in the hospital, Israel said, adding that the victims were “a mixture of students and adults.”
“We’ve begun to dissect the social media he was on,” Israel said during a news conference, referring to Cruz. “Some of the things are very disturbing.”
After being detained by police, Cruz was treated at Broward Health North and released back into police custody, where he remained Wednesday night.
Cruz had legally purchased the gun he used during the shooting, the family’s attorney, Jim Lewis, told the Sun Sentinel.
“It was his gun,” Lewis said. “The family made him keep it in a locked gun cabinet in the house but he had a key.”
The outlet said that Cruz and his brother Zachary were living with family friends after their adoptive mother died in November.
“The family is devastated, they didn’t see this coming,” Lewis said. ”They took him in and it’s a classic case of no good deed goes unpunished. He was a little quirky and he was depressed about his mom’s death, but who wouldn’t be?”
Cruz had reportedly been expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High the year before for “disciplinary reasons.” He is currently enrolled as a student within the Broward County Public Schools system, though police declined to name which school he was attending. He also worked at a nearby Dollar Tree, the general store chain confirmed.
“This has been a day we’ve seen the worst of humanity,” Superintendent Robert Runcie said during a news conference late Wednesday night.
“Tomorrow is going to bring out the best in humanity as we come together to move forward from this unspeakable tragedy,” he added.
Video taken off campus showed authorities making an arrest just before 4 p.m.(Agencies)