At least 17 people were killed and 15 were wounded in a shooting Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County, Florida.
Israel said the victims were killed inside the school, just outside and on a road nearby, with two victims dying at the hospital. The victims included students and adults. At least 14 victims were taken to local hospitals after the shooting at the school, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office said.
The motive for the Valentine’s Day shooting is not yet known.
According to CNN, an AR-15-style rifle was recovered by police. The sheriff said he had multiple magazines with him. Florida Senator Bill Nelson told CNN the shooter wore a gas mask and had smoke grenades. Nelson said the gunman set off the fire alarm to get students into the hallways.
“It was toward the end of the day, it was fourth period,” an 18-year-old student at the high school told Heavy. “I started to put my head down in class and next thing you know I heard about 6 to 7 shots in the classroom right next to me on the first floor of the freshman building. We all just decided to pile in one corner, we all decided to just stay put, because we didn’t know what was happening. We didn’t know if it was real or fake. We all kept quiet, the next thing we know the school shooter shot the window, glass went everywhere. We all put our heads down, he put the gun inside the window, turned his gun and shot three or four bullets, I heard a kid in my class with his knee shot and another school got shot and she was just bleeding everywhere. It was horrifying.”
The student said he grabbed a towel and gave it to a teacher who tied it around the wounded student’s leg. SWAT officers came about 15 minutes later to get the students out of the classroom.
Anyone with information about the shooting or the shooter is asked to call 1-800-CALL-FBI.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Shooter Was Taken Into Custody at a Home Near the School
Police took the suspect into custody at a home not far from the school. A news helicopter captured the moment police led the male suspect into a police cruiser:
Nikolas Cruz was arrested after the shooting, the Miami Herald reports. He was expelled from the Parkland school for disciplinary reasons, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said at a press conference. Israel said they are examining “very, very disturbing” social media posts investigators have uncovered. Some of those posts, confirmed by Heavy, show Cruz holding weapons and talking about shooting targets as therapy. Students say that Cruz, whose adoptive mother died in November, often talked about guns.
A student who was inside the school told CBS Miami through text message, “All of a sudden there was a really loud noise…..people are crying” and hiding in “the closet.”
You can watch live coverage from the scene here:
2. Several Gunshots Were Heard as Students Hid in Classrooms
According to WSVN, one person was seen being wheeled into a Coral Springs Fire Rescue ambulance, but the person was on his phone. Four other people were seen surrounded by fire rescuers, the news station reports. The extent of the injuries remains unclear.
Students have taken to Twitter to provide updates about the situation, saying they’ve heard several shots and are hiding in the school.
Jay Golden, of Parkland, whose daughter, Rachel is a senior at the high school. She is still inside the school, Golden told the Sun-Sentinel.
“She was crying, she’s scared. She’s been texting back and forth. She’s OK at the moment,” he told the newspaper. “I’m freaking out. This is crazy, this stuff shouldn’t be going on in these schools. People are crazy. I don’t know what goes on through these people’s minds these days, it’s a scary thing. It’s one of those things – you don’t want to put a metal protector and treat them like prisoners but they have to figure something out. You put your kids in school and it’s supposed to be a safe place and this stuff happens all the time.”
Federal authorities are responding to the scene, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which is typical in active shooter incidents.
“ATF agents from the Miami Field Division are responding to reports of a school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. The investigation is ongoing and active,” the ATF tweeted.
3. Police Are Telling Parents & Concerned Residents to Stay Away From the School & Not Call 911 Unless It’s an Emergency
People are being asked to stay away from the area of the school. Law enforcement personnel and emergency rescuers from several agencies flooded the scene. Videos from local news helicopters showed some students being led away from the school, while officers set up a perimeter with guns drawn.
The Coral Springs Police tweeted, “Worried parents of Douglas HS students, while this is Parkland scene (handled by BSO) we are assisting. We understand you are worried for your children (and nearby Middle School children, which was put on lock down as a precaution). Police are working an active shooter scene, and ask that if you are in touch with your student you ask that they remain calm and barricaded until police come to their room, this is for everyone’s safety. Do NOT call our 911 or non-emergency number unless it is an emergency.”
“AVOID AREA OF DOUGLAS HS for ACTIVE POLICE SCENE. Do not call 911 unless an emergency. Nothing further,” the Coral Springs Police Department, one of the agencies to respond, tweeted.
The department added, “Students/Teachers #Douglas High School Remain barricaded inside until police reach you.”
Parents are being told to go to a hotel near the school:
4. About 2,900 Students Attend the High School
About 2,900 students are enrolled at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, according to its website.
The school is part of the Broward County Public Schools system.
“I’ve spoken with @BrowardSheriff Scott Israel, @browardschools Superintendent Robert Runcie and FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen regarding Stoneman Douglas High School. We’ll continue to receive updates from law enforcement,” Florida Governor Rick Scott tweeted.
President Donald Trump has been made aware of the situation, the White House says.
“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,” Trump tweeted. “Just spoke to Governor Rick Scott. We are working closely with law enforcement on the terrible Florida school shooting.”
Florida Congresswoman Fredrica Wilson tweeted, “My thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the horrific shooting taking place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. It is heartbreaking that these violent incidents continue to take place in schools, a place where our children should feel and be the most safe!”
5. There Have Been at Least 12 Other Shootings to Occur on School Property in the U.S. in 2018
There have been several shootings on school campuses around the country already this year.
Included in that total is a shooting that occurred last week in Benton, Kentucky, on January 23. A 15-year-old student opened fire on classmates, killing two other 15-year-olds and injuring 18 other people. Just a day earlier, on January 22, a 15-year-old girl was shot by another student at a high school in Italy, Texas. She survived the shooting and the gunman was arrested.
The other shootings have not been as high-profile, according to NPR, which compiled a list of the incidents. On the same day as the Texas shooting, a student was wounded in the parking lot of a New Orleans charter school. On January 20, a man was shot and killed on the campus of Wake Forest University. The victim was a student at Winston-Salem State University and was attending a sorority party.
On January 15, a bullet was fired into a dorm room in Marshall, Texas, on the campus of Wiley College.
On January 10, there were three shootings on the same day. The first was a suicide at Coronado Elementary School in Arizona. Then a student fired a shot in a classroom at Grayson College in Texas, but nobody was hit. Police say it was an accidental discharge during a criminal justice class. And a shot was fired at a building on the campus of Cal State San Bernardino. No one was injured there.
On January 6, a shot was fired at a school bus carrying students in Iowa, shattering a window, but not causing injuries. On January 4, two shots were fired into a Seattle high school classroom. And on that same day a man shot himself in the parking lot of an empty elementary school in Michigan.
“We have absolutely become numb to these kinds of shootings, and I think that will continue,” said Katherine W. Schweit, a former FBI official who co-authore a study on active shooting incidents, told the Times.