NEW YORK DAILY NEWS By Elizabeth Elizalde Updated: Wednesday, February 14, 2018
A former student opened fire at a Florida high school Wednesday, killing at least 17 people and injuring numerous others.
The suspect — who is in custody — was identified as Nicolas Cruz, who previously attended Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, an official confirmed to the Associated Press.
Many victims were transported to Broward Health Medical Center, the Broward County Sheriff's Office said. The extent of their injuries was unknown.
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said the suspect previously attended the school and is 18 years old. He added that the shooter was in and out of the school "at varying times."
Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said there were "numerous fatalities."
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. (NYDN, MAPZEN, OPENSTREETMAP)
Some students were barricaded in classrooms, and others were being escorted out of the building with their hands over their heads.
A student described the alleged shooter as a "troubled kid" who was a gun enthusiast.
"He shot guns because he said it was exhilarating," the student told WSVN-TV.
A mother said she communicated with her daughter, a ninth-grader at the school, through text messages.
She's telling me that she is OK," the parent told Local10. "The teacher has them in the back of the classroom. He locked the door. They know what to do. They're doing the proper procedure, but she's terrified."
Student Michael Katz, 15, said he heard a loud bang he thought was a garbage truck around 2:20 p.m.
"It was really loud. Then I heard it again," Katz told ABC News. "Then I heard frantic screaming. I've never heard such loud screams in my life. Then we realized there was a shooting at my school."
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An English teacher who was in the middle of a lesson when the shooting broke out said she hid her students in a closet for safety. Her friend, who taught in the freshman building, saw at least three bodies on the ground as she was leaving the building, she said.
Students seen running from school with their hands up outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS h
"This is the type of situation that we just had a training about maybe like six weeks ago," the teacher told CNN. "If we hadn't had that training it could've been a lot worse. A lot of us probably thought this was the drill we were supposed to have."
SWAT team members and ambulances swarmed the school, which was placed on lockdown. Broward County Schools tweeted that students were being dismissed.
President Trump was briefed on the shooting, the White House said.
"My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting," the President tweeted. "No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school."
There have been at least 18 school shootings nationwide this year, according to the gun control advocacy group Everytown For Gun Safety.
Among the shootings was a Jan. 23 attack by a 15-year-old student at a Kentucky high school that killed two students and injured nearly 20 more.