At least 17 dead in Florida school shooting, law enforcement says

A former student unleashed a hail of gunfire in a Florida high school on Wednesday, killing at least 17 adults and ch...

Posted: Feb 15, 2018 12:12 PM
Updated: Feb 15, 2018 12:12 PM

A former student unleashed a hail of gunfire in a Florida high school on Wednesday, killing at least 17 adults and children, authorities said.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott ordered government flags flown at half-staff through Monday in honor of victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, a public school of some 3,000 students outside Boca Raton.

The school is closed for the rest of the week, Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said. The district will offer grief counseling to students and their families.

"This has been a day where we've seen the worst of humanity. Tomorrow is gonna bring out the best in humanity as we come together to move forward from this unspeakable tragedy," he said.

The suspect, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, was expelled for unspecified disciplinary reasons, Runcie said. He is due in court Thursday.

The shooting, which is among the 10 deadliest mass shootings in modern US history, revived debate over gun control while American politicians offered their condolences.

"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," US President Donald Trump said.

Messages from the scene in texts and Snapchats

Law enforcement responded to reports of a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shortly before 3 p.m. and encountered a chaotic scene.

Investigators believe the suspect pulled the fire alarm to draw people out of classrooms and increase the number of casualties, a law enforcement source told CNN. But the school already had a fire drill earlier in the day, leading some to think it was a false alarm.

While some left the building, others sought cover in classrooms as the school went into lockdown and the gunman went on his rampage.

Some students, fearing their lives would soon be over, texted goodbyes to loved ones; others used their phones to share startling footage of the carnage on social media.

One teacher said she was on her way out of the building after the fire alarm when another staff member told her the situation was code red -- an active shooter. Melissa Falkowski returned to a classroom and hid in a closet with 19 students from her newspaper class for nearly 40 minutes.

Falkowski credited the fire drill and recent active shooter training with saving lives. And yet, it didn't save enough.

"We could not have been more prepared for this situation, which is what makes it so frustrating," Falkowski told CNN's Anderson Cooper.

"We did everything that we were supposed to do. Broward County Schools has prepared us for this situation and to still have so many casualties, at least for me, it's very emotional. Because I feel today that our government, our country has failed us and failed our kids and didn't keep us safe."

'It's really a blessing to still be alive'

Police are investigating Cruz's digital footprint, Sheriff Scott Israel said. So far, what they've found is "very, very disturbing," he said.

Law enforcement sources said the suspect used a .223 caliber, AR-15 style firearm in the shooting.

Freshman Kayden Hanafi said he heard two gunshots and saw people running out of another building on campus. As he and his classmates went into lockdown, many thought the noise might have been firecrackers.

"It's really a blessing to still be alive," he said.

Nicole Baltzer, 18, said she was in trigonometry class about 10 minutes before the end of the school day when the fire alarm went off. As students evacuated, she heard six gunshots and everyone started running back inside the school, Baltzer said.

"I heard so many gunshots, at least like six. They were very close," Baltzer said.

A police officer told her to close her eyes as she walked past a classroom with broken glass, telling her "there's nothing good to see in there," she said.

A freshman named Aidan posted a photo on social media from inside his math class while on lockdown.

"We have been liberated. God bless, America," Aidan tweeted after being evacuated from the building. "Love each other. You may never know when it may be the last day you meet someone."

Terror in Florida's safest city

The shooting sent students and staff streaming out of the school. Some walked calmly with their hands up while others ran. According to a law enforcement source, the suspect initially mixed in with the crowd of students to try to get away, but it didn't work.

Immediately after the shooting, aerial footage from CNN affiliate WSVN showed people lying on the ground outside the school, being treated for injuries and moved to ambulances. Seventeen people, including the suspect, were sent to area hospitals, said Dr. Evan Boyar of Broward Health.

As news of the shooting spread, desperate parents gathered near the property, searching for their children at the nearby Walmart where the students and staff gathered after being evacuated.

Those who died included students and adults, the sheriff said. Twelve were killed inside the building and two died outside, he said. One died in the street and two died at the hospital, Israel said.

Parkland, with a population of 31,000 in 2016, was named Florida's safest city last year, according to one analysis. The south Florida city had seven reported violent crimes and 186 property crimes the previous year, the analysis said.

Clarification: Earlier reports from WSVN said that 20 people may have been injured. CNN has not confirmed the number of injured. This is a developing story and will be updated.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 35712

Reported Deaths: 2207
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion10037594
Lake3806202
Allen174371
Cass15927
Elkhart143529
St. Joseph132035
Hamilton118094
Hendricks118074
Johnson1120110
Madison59761
Porter55329
Clark52841
Bartholomew52238
Howard43734
LaPorte43624
Tippecanoe4214
Shelby39822
Jackson3942
Delaware38740
Hancock34928
Floyd32140
Boone31835
Vanderburgh2902
Morgan28324
Noble25121
Montgomery24417
Clinton2401
White2389
Decatur23031
Grant22123
Dubois2053
Harrison19622
Henry18412
Vigo1758
Greene17125
Dearborn17021
Monroe17012
Warrick16728
Kosciusko1661
Lawrence16524
Marshall1472
Miami1411
Putnam1377
Orange13122
Jennings1314
Scott1223
Franklin1158
Ripley1086
LaGrange1022
Daviess9516
Carroll933
Steuben872
Wayne865
Wabash802
Fayette797
Newton7810
Jasper701
Jay530
Clay522
Washington511
Rush503
Randolph503
Fulton501
Pulaski490
Jefferson471
Whitley443
DeKalb431
Starke393
Sullivan371
Owen341
Perry340
Huntington342
Brown331
Benton320
Wells320
Knox310
Blackford272
Tipton261
Crawford240
Fountain222
Switzerland210
Spencer211
Adams201
Gibson182
Parke180
Posey160
Ohio130
Warren121
Martin120
Vermillion100
Union90
Pike60
Unassigned0175

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 36792

Reported Deaths: 2300
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin6112290
Cuyahoga4669247
Hamilton2739164
Marion267931
Lucas2296256
Pickaway209537
Summit1487181
Mahoning1463188
Butler93333
Columbiana88952
Stark75299
Lorain70960
Montgomery69516
Trumbull58451
Belmont43914
Warren39021
Medina36623
Miami36230
Tuscarawas3604
Ashtabula34537
Delaware34414
Portage33257
Lake31812
Fairfield3108
Clark3067
Wood30348
Geauga29533
Wayne28851
Licking26510
Mercer2207
Clermont2165
Allen21433
Richland2093
Darke18423
Erie18216
Madison1627
Washington11819
Crawford1174
Morrow1071
Ottawa10217
Greene1025
Putnam9514
Sandusky8512
Monroe7914
Auglaize763
Ross732
Hocking705
Jefferson672
Hardin640
Huron601
Williams561
Union551
Muskingum521
Hancock511
Shelby463
Holmes463
Clinton451
Fulton450
Wyandot442
Coshocton400
Logan400
Fayette400
Preble391
Guernsey362
Defiance342
Carroll313
Brown301
Lawrence300
Champaign281
Highland261
Knox251
Seneca242
Vinton212
Ashland210
Perry191
Athens181
Henry170
Scioto170
Paulding140
Jackson140
Adams101
Harrison100
Pike90
Gallia81
Van Wert70
Noble60
Meigs60
Morgan50
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Broken Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 70°
Angola
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 63°
Huntington
Overcast
69° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 69°
Decatur
Broken Clouds
72° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 72°
Van Wert
Broken Clouds
72° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 72°
Warm & Humid Thursday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events