(AJN) At least 17 people have been killed in a shooting at a high school in southeastern Florida.
Police say a gunman opened fire shortly before the school day ended on Wednesday.
The suspected attacker has been taken into custody.
At least five people have life-threatening injuries.
Here’s what we know so far:
What happened and where?
- A gunman began shooting outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Wednesday just before dismissal at about 2:40pm local time.
- At least two people were killed outside the building and one person was killed in the street.
- The fire alarm went off inside the school.
- The gunman entered one of the school buildings where, according to police, he continued his shooting rampage with a semiautomatic AR-15 rifle.
- He eventually fled the scene.
- The suspected gunman was later taken into custody in a neighbouring town.
- The shooting took place in the town of Parkland. It is about an hours drive from Miami in southeast Florida.
- Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is a public school with about 3,000 students.
How many people were killed?
- At least 17 people were killed, including students and adults.
- Three people were killed outside the school, while 12 were shot dead inside one of the buildings. Two died from their injuries at the hospital.
- Twelve of the victims have been identified, police said late on Wednesday. Their names have not been released.
- The school’s football coach is among the dead.
- At least 15 others were injured. Five are suffering from “life-threatening injuries”, police said.
Who is Nikolas Cruz?
- The suspect has been identified as 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz.
- Police say the gunman was armed with a semiautomatic AR-15 rifle and carried “multiple” magazines with him.
- According to officials, Cruz was expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School for disciplinary issues. They did not specify when he was expelled or the specifics of his expulsion. He was enrolled in a different high school, local reports said.
- Officials have begun going through Cruz’s social media accounts and have found “disturbing” posts.
- “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,” Sheriff Scott Israel said late on Wednesday.
‘I just ran’: What have students said?
- A number of unverified videos from inside the school at the time of the shooting have been circulating on social media.
- In one video, people are screaming “Oh my God!” as gunshots rang out.
- Students at the school have described the “chaotic” scene to local media.
- “I just ran. I had my book bag on my back, just in case I got shot in the back,” one student told CNN.
- “I saw some bodies. It wasn’t good,” another student told West Palm Beach’s WPTV.
- “We hear bullets coming closer and closer to us, and then we just hear kids screaming,” a ninth-grade student told Miami’s WPLG news station. “This teacher was apparently trying to help a student and got shot,” the student added.
What have officials said?
- Florida Governor Rick Scott said the shooting was “absolutely pure evil”. He also said there was “a time” to talk about gun control when questioned by reporters on Wednesday.
- US President Donald Trump offered his condolences to the families of the victims. He said: “No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school”.
- Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy spoke in front of the Senate shortly after the shooting, saying Congress is “responsible for the level of mass atrocity that happens to this country with zero parallel anywhere else”. He added: “As a parent, it scares me to death that this body doesn’t take serious the safety of my children.”