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UPDATE: 17 Dead In Florida High School Shooting, Sheriff IDs Suspect As Nikolas Cruz

The investigation indicates the shooter set off a fire alarm to draw students out of classrooms

THE LATEST on a shooting at a Florida high school: 

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said 17 people died Wednesday in the shooting attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, northwest of Fort Lauderdale.

In a news conference, Israel said 12 of the victims were found inside the school building and two were found outside. Another victim was found on the street and two people died at the hospital.

Israel identified the suspect as 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, a former student who had been expelled for disciplinary reasons. The sheriff said the shooter used an AR-15 rifle and had “multiple magazines.”

U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-Florida) told CNN that the shooter was equipped with a gas mask and smoke grenades, and set off a fire alarm to draw students out of classrooms. Nelson detailed he obtained that information through a briefing with investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Israel said authorities have identified 12 of those killed in the shooting and are working to identify the rest.

The sheriff said none of the names and ages of the victims would be disclosed pending notifications of their families.

However, he said that one of the deceased was a school football coach and one of the wounded is the son of a deputy sheriff who sustained a non-life-threatening injury.

Explaining why identifying the victims has taken some time, Israel said they didn’t have backpacks or cellphones with them that might have helped.

Around 6 p.m. (Central Time), doctors said 16 people wounded were being treated at area hospitals.

Dr. Evan Boyar at Broward Health North told reporters that eight victims and the suspect had been brought to his hospital. Boyar said two victims died, three were in critical condition and three were in stable condition. He said three patients were still in the operating room Wednesday evening. The suspect was treated and released to police.

Boyar said all the victims were shot but declined to comment on their ages or the extent of their wounds.

Eight other victims were taken to other hospitals, but he did not have information on their conditions.

Israel said investigators already have examined the suspect’s statements on social media, calling them “very, very disturbing.”

Israel said that his triplets had graduated from the same school. “It’s a horrific, horrific day,” he said.

The school was to be closed for the rest of the week.

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WARNING: This video has graphic content

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Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch of Florida says lawmakers have offered their condolences after the latest school shooting, this one in his district.

Deutch says he found his colleagues’ outreach — in his words — both “heartwarming and obscene.” Authorities say 17 people died in Wednesday’s attack in Parkland, Florida, and the suspect, a 19-year-old former student, is in custody.

The congressman says he uses the word “obscene” because school shootings have become so commonplace that lawmakers were offering him guidance on what to expect in coming days as constituents grapple with the tragedy.

Deutch says it’s time to find ways to save lives. He says he wants President Donald Trump to call those concerned to the White House to “do something” about gun violence.

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Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel says the shooting suspect is an 18-year-old former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida where the shooting erupted.

He says the teen was arrested without incident after he was located off the school grounds in a nearby community. He didn’t give details of when the suspect had attended the school. But the sheriffs says the suspect wasn’t currently enrolled.

“I don’t know why he left,” Israel said, briefing reporters Wednesday afternoon.

He also says the shooter was outside and inside the school at points during the attack. He didn’t elaborate.

The sheriff says several SWAT teams have gone in during the afternoon and are clearing every building at the Parkland high school complex to ensure no other threat remains.

He also says the FBI has stepped in and will begin processing what he describes as “horrific scene.”

Said the sheriff: “This is a terrible day … This is catastrophic.”

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A shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Wednesday left at least 14 victims, according to the Sheriff of Broward County, Scott Israel, on Twitter.

President Donald Trump has spoken with Florida Gov. Rick Scott about the shooting.

Parents, students describe scene of chaos, fear

Parents described a chaotic and frightening situation as they rushed to find their children in the frantic minutes after reports of a shooting at a South Florida high school began to spread.

Caesar Figueroa says he was one of the first parents to arrive at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. He says he saw police officers bringing out big weapons as they approached the school.

Figueroa’s office is only five minutes from the school where he sends his 16-year-old daughter.

“My wife called me that there was an active shooter and the school was on lockdown. I got on the road and saw helicopters, police with machine guns. It was crazy and my daughter wasn’t answering her phone.”

According to Figueroa, she texted him that she was hidden inside a closet at school with friends: “She was in a classroom and she heard gunshots by the window. She and her friends ran into the closet.”

Another parent, Beth Feingold, says her daughter sent a text at 2:32 p.m. saying “We’re on code red. I’m fine.” But she then sent another text soon afterward saying, “Mom, I’m so scared.” The girl was later able to escape the school unharmed.

Broward County Public Schools Superintendent, Supt Runcie, said that there were “numerous fatalities” and that they didn’t;t have any evidence at that point there was more than one shooter.

The shooting, which happened in the afternoon, left students rushing out into the streets as SWAT team members swarmed in and locked down the building. The Sheriff also announced that the shooter was in custody.

Ambulances converged on the scene as emergency workers appeared to be treating possibly wounded people on the sidewalks.

Students inside the school went to social media to share their experience:

 

 

The school had tweeted that they were getting reports of  possible multiple injuries. 

Television footage showed police in olive fatigues, with weapons drawn, entering the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, then dozens of children frantically running and walking quickly out. A police officer waved the students on, urging them to quickly evacuate the school.

Some students exited the building in single-file rows with hands raised overhead to show they carried no weapons. Others held onto other students as they made their way out past helmeted police in camouflage with weapons drawn.

 

In this frame grab from video provided by WPLG-TV, students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., are led away from the school following a shooting on February 14th, 2018.

 

Emergency medical personnel pulled stretchers from the backs of ambulances as police cars surrounded the parking lot. At least one person was seen being wheeled to the ambulance on a gurney. It wasn’t immediately clear how many people were wounded.

The high school is a sprawling complex set on a tract in the South Florida community of Parkland, about 45 miles (70 kilometers) north of downtown Miami.

The school had just over 3,100 students in the 2016-2017 academic year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Major streets run along two sides and an expressway passes nearby on the other not far from a residential neighborhood of single family homes.

 

 

Len Murray’s 17-year-old son, a junior at the South Florida high school where shooting was reported, sent his parents a chilling text: “Mom and Dad, there have been shots fired on campus at school. There are police sirens outside. I’m in the auditorium and the doors are locked.”

Those words came at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday. A few minutes later, he texted again: “I’m fine.”

Murray raced to the school only to be stopped by authorities under a highway overpass within view of the school buildings in Parkland.

No information was immediately given to parents, Len Murray says. And he says he remained worried for all those inside.

“I’m scared for the other parents here. You can see the concern in everybody’s faces. Everybody is asking, ‘Have you hard from your child yet?'”

Parent John Obin said his son, a freshman at the South Florida high school where the shooting erupted, says his child was in class when he heard several shots. The father says his son advised that teachers quickly rushed students out of the school. He adds the boy told his father that he walked by two people on the ground motionless — and apparently dead — as students rushed outside.

“This is a really good school, and now it’s like a war zone,” Obin said. 

 

 

 

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