Sheriff: 17 dead in Florida school shooting

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School Shooting Florida_296843

Anxious family members watch a rescue vehicle pass by, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018, in Parkland, Fla. A shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School school sent students rushing into the streets as SWAT team members swarmed in and locked down the building. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

PARKLAND, Fla. (WFLA/WDTN) – Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said 17 people were dead in the Florida school shooting on Twitter Wednesday.

A US official has identified the Florida school shooter suspect as Nicolas Cruz.

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel says the shooting suspect is an 18-year-old former student at the South Florida school where the shooting erupted.

The sheriff said the suspect was arrested off school grounds and also said the the suspect did not currently attend the school.

“I don’t know why he left,” Israel said, briefing reporters Wednesday afternoon.

The sheriff described it as a “horrific scene”.

There are a “number of fatalities” confirmed after an active shooter opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in South Florida, Sen. Bill Nelson D-Fla. said.

Nelson said he was citing Broward County officials. “This is a really bad day,” he said.

There were reports of at least 14 victims inside the school, Broward County Sheriff’s officials said. There was no word on the extent of those injuries.

A father said the shooter pulled a fire alarm at the school and that caused students and teachers to come out of their classroom so he could start shooting in the hallway. The kids had already had a fire drill earlier in the day.

One girl told NBC6 in Miami that the shooter was a student at the school.

“Honestly, a lot of people were saying that it was gonna be him, stuff like that. We actually, we – a lot of kids threw jokes around like that saying that he was going to be the one to shoot up the school. It turns out, everyone predicted it.”

“Yeah, he was on the third floor. He knows the school layout. He knows where everyone would be at as of right now. He’s been at the fire drills. He’s prepared for this.stuff,” a student said.

Officers responded to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School at 5901 Pine Island Road in Parkland at about 2:30 p.m.

School board officials said staff and students heard what sounded like gunfire shortly before dismissal, and the school went on an immediate lockdown.

Video showed dozens of officers and ambulances at the school as students ran out. Some reported victims were seen being carried out of the school.

Students were escorted by armed police out of the high school in a single file. Parents said their kids are trapped inside.

The older brother of one student, who said his sister, a sophomore, was safe but “trembling in shock” at the scene unfolding at her high school.

“It’s just complete chaos out there,” he said a short distance from the school. “She was numb.”

.ATF agents from the Miami Field Division responded to the school.

The Broward sheriff said that the parent staging area is at the Marriott 11775 Heron Bay Boulevard in Coral Springs.

President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Rick Scott were notified of the situation. Scott is traveling to Broward County now to be briefed by emergency management officials and law enforcement.

“My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting. No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school,” Trump tweeted.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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