17 Dead In Florida School Shooting
A former student armed with an AR-15 rifle opened fire at a Florida high school on Wednesday, killing at least 17 people, officials said, in a harrowing shooting spree that saw terrified students hiding in closets and under desks as they texted for help.
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said the Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, had left “multiple dead,” with dozens also injured.
Cruz was arrested without incident in the nearby town of Coral Springs after the Valentine’s Day rampage and taken to hospital with minor injuries, the sheriff said.
“We have already begun to dissect his websites and things on social media that he was on and some of the things… are very, very disturbing,” Israel said.
“He had countless magazines, multiple magazines, and at this point, we believe he had one AR-15 rifle,” the sheriff added.
The shooting, one of nearly 20 since the start of the year, will once again throw the spotlight on the epidemic of gun violence in the United States and the ready accessibility of weapons in a country with 33,000 gun-related deaths annually.
“Just a horrible day for us,” said the superintendent of the county’s school district, Robert Runcie, who spoke of “numerous fatalities.”
Israel echoed that sentiment.
“This is a terrible day for Parkland,” he said, speaking of the city of about 30,000 people, located 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of Miami.
“My very own triplets went to that school.”
A teacher at the school told The Miami Herald that Cruz had been identified previously as a potential threat to his classmates.
“We were told last year that he wasn’t allowed on campus with a backpack on him,” math teacher Jim Gard said.
“There were problems with him last year threatening students, and I guess he was asked to leave campus.”
The FBI said it was assisting local law enforcement with the investigation.
Parkland Mayor Christine Hunschofsky told CNN she had spoken to a number of students after the shooting erupted shortly after 2:00 pm (1900 GMT).
“They were very scared,” she said. “And almost in shock when they came out.”
Asked about security, the Parkland mayor said a police officer is always stationed at the school and there was a “single point of entry.”