Seventeen people are reported dead in a South Florida high school, making it one of the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history.
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel told a press conference Wednesday evening both students and adults were among the dead. Israel said 12 died in the school building, two just outside the building, one on nearby street and two at the hospital.
“It’s a horrific situation,” Broward County Public Schools Supt. Robert Runcie said. “It’s just a horrible day for us.”
The suspect, identified as 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, was a former student at the school who had been expelled for disciplinary reasons, Israel said. He was arrested off the school’s campus nearly two hours after the shooting was reported.
“We have a shooter in custody,” Israel told reporters. “He was taken into custody about an hour after he left Stoneman Douglas, after he committed this horrific homicidal attack.”
The suspect used an AR-15 assault-style rifle and had multiple magazines, Israel said.
“This is catastrophic,” he said. “There are really no words.”
News video taken above the scene showed officers surrounding the handcuffed person as he was being searched next to a police cruiser.
So far we have at least 14 victims. Victims have been and continue to be transported to Broward Health Medical Center and Broward Health North hospital. #StonemanShooting
The Miami Herald cited a local fire chief saying at least one person was killed. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., told Fox News that “many people have been killed.”
Authorities responded to an active shooter situation at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, at around 2:30 p.m, and said the shooter was on the loose for at least an hour. By 4 p.m., Broward Sheriff officials confirmed the suspected shooter was taken into custody.
Runcie said that school “received no warning, no indication.”
“Typically, you see in these situations that there potentially could have been signs out there,” he said.
“I would be speculating at this point if there were but we didn’t have any warnings. There weren’t any phone calls or threats that we know of that were made.”
Fox News Channel reported 20 to 50 people were injured and that law enforcement officials were telling students and others inside the school to remain barricaded in place. Images later showed students running out of the school in groups with their hands up. Broward Schools dismissed the remainder of the students inside the school at around 3:40 p.m.
Live news video of the scene showed rescue personnel staging a triage area near the school, where several people were being evaluated and treated. Multiple people, who appeared to be students, were loaded onto gurneys and into waiting ambulances.
Lissette Rozenblet, whose youngest daughter is a student at the school, told CNN that she was safe at a nearby Walmart store.
“She texted us — and, at first, we thought it was a hoax,” she told Brooke Baldwin. “My husband hung up and called the school and verified it was true.
“He took off. Went to the school.”
Rozenblet said that her daughter “kept texting me — and she said that she was hiding, that she was fine.
“She told me to please call 911 because there was somebody hurt on the third floor in the 1200 building. She was very nervous.”
Ryan Gott, 15, a freshman, told CNN’s Jake Tapper that his younger brother is a student in Stoneman’s middle school and that they both were safe.
“They’re just happy they’re alive right now,” he said of his friends who were in the high school when the shooting occurred. “I’m glad they’re OK, too.
“They’re freaking out. They don’t know what’s going on.
“They just heard there’s a shooter in the building.”
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School consists of multiple buildings and has an enrollment of around 3,000 students.
A massive police presence surrounded the school, with SWAT teams pulling up to some of the entrances in armored vehicles. Students were seen running out of exits under the guidance of police — whose weapons were out.?
President Donald Trump tweeted out condolences to the victims.
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.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott tweeted:
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.
The Broward County Sheriff’s office tweeted the latest information was available from their Twitter account:
Follow @browardsheriff for latest info on the #stonemanshooting. Shooter still at large.
Opened in 1990, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was named after Florida environmentalist Marjory Stoneman Douglas.
Its first senior class graduated in 1992.
Local police in Coral Springs posted this tweet:
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).
Solange Reyner contributed to this report.