FLORIDA – A former student opened fire at a Florida high school Wednesday, killing “numerous” people, sending students running out into the streets and SWAT team members swarming in before authorities took him into custody.
Frantic parents rushed to the scene and ambulances converged in front of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Live footage showed emergency workers appearing to treat possibly wounded people on the sidewalks.
The Broward County Sheriff’s Office tweeted that 17 people had been shot dead by the gunman.
The Wednesday afternoon tweetstorm by the sheriff’s office added, about the wounded: “Victims have been and continue to be transported to Broward Health Medical Center and Broward Health North hospital.”
Broward County Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said there were “numerous fatalities.”
“It is a horrific situation.” He added, “It is a horrible day for us.”
US President Donald Trump tweeted his condolences.
The male shooter was identified as Nicolas Cruz, 19, said a US official briefed on the investigation. Cruz, a former student, used a rifle but may have also had a handgun.
“He always had guns on him and stuff like that,” said a student who knew Cruz. “He was a little bit of a troubled kid.”
Cruz was outside and inside the school at points during the attack, and taken into custody “without incident” about an hour after he left the school, officials said.
Israel said police were waiting for the SWAT team to give them the all-clear so that they could go inside.
Noah Parness, a 17-year-old junior, said the fire alarm went off for the second time of the day about 2.30pm (2.30am Thursday, Thailand time). He said he and the other students calmly went outside to their fire drill areas when he suddenly heard several pops.
“Everyone was kind of just standing there calm, and then we saw a bunch of teachers running down the stairway, and then everybody shifted and broke into a sprint,” Parness said. “I hopped a fence.”
Television footage showed police in olive fatigues, with weapons drawn, entering the school, then dozens of students frantically running and walking quickly out.
A police officer waved the students on, urging them to quickly evacuate. 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.
The Broward Schools department said on its website that students and staff heard what sounded like gunfire and the school immediately went on lockdown.
The Associated Press