Authorities are still investigating the shooting at a South Florida high school that left 17 dead, but the shooter has already been identified as 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz.
UPDATE: The Broward Sheriff’s Office held a press conference just hours after the shooting, and said that 17 people were confirmed dead — 12 in the building, 2 outside, and 3 at the hospital. At this time, they don’t know how many were students vs teachers. Police have started to dissect Nikolas Cruz’s website and social media and what they;re finding is very “disturbing”. He was expelled for disciplinary issues, had countless magazines, and an AR-15 rifle.
Once again, America is in mourning, as another school became a crime scene. This time, it was at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. An active shooter was reported on Feb. 14, and the alleged gunman was taken into custody shortly thereafter. A federal official told the Associated Press that the shooting suspect is Nikolas Cruz, 19, a former student. Authorities announced that they apprehended the suspect after locating him off the school grounds, and he was “taken into custody without incident,” meaning he didn’t fight back.
“I stayed clear of him most of the time,” a teen, who declined to give his name, said of Nikolas, per the New York Post. “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.”
Law enforcement sources told CNN that there were at least 17 dead in this school shooting. “This is a really bad day,” said Senator Bill Nelson, citing a Broward County Official who said “there were a number of fatalities.” Parkland Mayor Christine Hunschofsky also expressed her heartbreak over the tragedy that struck her town. “It’s sad. It’s sad that these tragedies happen in our country,” she said, per NBC. “Many of the students have been in touch with their parents. We have, many many parents out here.”
The shooting reportedly began around 2 PM ET at the school, which is located about 30 miles northwest of Fort Lauderdale. Early reports of the gunman described him as a student and a member of the JROTC program, according to USA Today. Authorities said that he was wearing a hoodie and had red hair. A person of interest was taken into custody after the shooting, and areal footage showed police surrounding a man in a maroon shirt.
The whole scene was a terrifying affair, as areal footage showed students running single file from the building with their hands in the air. After throwing their backpacks into a large pile, they huddled under trees across the street.
The White House was quick to issue a statement on this shooting. “The president has been made aware of the school shooting in Florida,” Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters said, per USA Today. “We are monitoring the situation. Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected.” President Donald Trump chimed in on Twitter. “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.”
We’ll update this post with more details as they emerge. In the meantime, our thoughts are with the victims, families and friends of all those involved.