A 19-year-old man killed at least 17 people and wounded at least 16 others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Wednesday. Here’s what we know about the tragedy thus far.
The suspect, Nikolas Cruz, was arrested at the scene after he attempted to hide among the fleeing crowds. School officials said Cruz was recently expelled from the school “for disciplinary reasons.” Officials say he had been barred from entering campus with a backpack. Police believe he acted alone.
“I got paired with him for a project, and he started talking to me about his life — how he was held back twice, expelled from two private schools,”Brandon Minoff, a senior at Stoneman told NBC News. “He likes to do reckless stuff.”
Many students said they were not surprised when they heard Cruz was suspected of carrying out one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history. Students and faculty say he was often alone and that he had trouble with bullies.
Witnesses say the fire alarm was pulled towards the beginning of the rampage. Authorities believe Cruz pulled the alarm to lure students out of classrooms in order to shoot more of them. Officials say an AR-15-style rifle was the weapon used to carry out the massacre.
“Her biggest fear is a school shooting,” Lisette Rozenblet said of her daughter, who attends the school. “She is always begging me to be home-schooled because she was scared of this.”
Rozenblet’s daughter’s teacher did not dismiss the class when the fire alarm rang out, she said, as she suspected it was a trap.
One teacher was reportedly died trying to protect his students from the shooter. As the shooter approached the classroom where students were hiding, the teacher attempted to lock the students safely inside. But while doing that, he was shot and killed, according to a student who witnessed the ordeal.
“We all got upstairs and into the classroom, and when he tried to unlock the door, me and a couple other people ran in, and as he was closing the door, he was actually shot and killed right there,” a student named Alex told WSVN7.
In a press conference, on Wednesday evening, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, described the event as an act of “pure evil.”
President Trump tweeted “prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting.”