Suspect in Custody in ‘Horrific’ Florida High School Shooting

Gunfire erupted at Parkland campus on this 'terrible' afternoon — 'Mom, I'm so scared,' one student texted

by Elizabeth Zwirz | Updated 15 Feb 2018 at 7:36 AM

A shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, killed at least 17 people, stunning the town and much of the nation, as investigators raced to find a possible motive behind the bloodbath.

The suspect was identified as 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who’d been expelled for disciplinary reasons, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel confirmed during an evening news conference. Sen. Bill Nelson told Fox News that Cruz was wearing a gas mask and may have had smoke bombs during the rampage.

The school was under lockdown as police rushed to the scene.

Of the 17 people killed, 12 of them died in the school, two were killed outside, one died on the street and another two died at the hospital, Israel said. He added that 15 people were transported to the hospital.

The suspect carried an AR-15 rifle and had “countless magazines,” the sheriff said.

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said the suspect was taken into custody “without incident” and was “not a current student” at the school.

Florida Sen. Bill Nelson told Fox News, “It’s a bad day.”

“I have already said my prayers to give them comfort, but this is a tough time,” Nelson said. “We say ‘enough is enough,’ but it happens again.”

Sen. Marco Rubio echoed that sentiment on Twitter, saying, “Today is that terrible day you pray never comes.”

“There are numerous fatalities,” Broward County Superintendent Robert Runcie said. “It is a horrific situation. It is a horrible day for us.”

He added that there was currently "no evidence" to suggest that there was "more than one shooter," according to WSVN.

Coral Springs Police asked the public to avoid the area of the high school, saying it was an active scene. A nearby middle school was also put on lockdown as a precaution, officials said.

High school junior Noah Parness, 17, told the Associated Press that the fire alarm went off for the second time of the day at about 2:30 p.m. He said he and others calmly went outside for a fire drill 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 spring," Parness said. "I hopped a fence."

A person who claimed to be at the scene posted pictures to Twitter of students hiding beneath desks in one of the classrooms.

Caesar Figueroa, a parent of a 16-year-old student at the school, said he left work and headed to the area after receiving a phone call from his wife.

A person who claimed to be at the scene posted pictures to Twitter of students hiding beneath desks in one of the classrooms.

"My wife called me that there was an active shooter and the school was on lockdown," Figueroa told the AP. "I got on the road and saw helicopters, police with machine guns."

He said his daughter wasn't answering his phone calls but eventually 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," he said of the text. "She and her friends ran into the closet."

Another parent, Beth Feingold, told the AP that 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.

In a tweet from Broward Schools, the high school was dismissing students and the district's Special Investigative Unit, along with law enforcement, were on-site.

Related: How to Talk About School Shootings

President Trump offered his "prayers and condolences to the families of the victims" of the school shooting on Twitter.

"No child, teacher, or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school," he said.

Gov. Rick Scott said on Twitter that he'd spoken to the president, Broward Sheriff Scott Israel, as well as other officials, in regard to the incident and will "continue to receive updates from law enforcement."

The FBI is also in touch with local authorities and responding to the incident, Fox News confirmed. Sheriff Israel confirmed the agency's involvement and said they'll begin processing the "horrific scene."

Fox News' Jake Gibson contributed to this story, which originally appeared in Fox News and is used by permission. The Associated Press contributed.

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