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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 14, 2018 4:00 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.

Cases: 752108

Reported Deaths: 13816
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1033831790
Lake558431013
Allen41736693
St. Joseph37007565
Hamilton36617417
Elkhart29425461
Tippecanoe22938228
Vanderburgh22565400
Porter19369327
Johnson18486389
Hendricks17696317
Clark13233195
Madison13176344
Vigo12631253
LaPorte12429221
Monroe12226176
Delaware10970198
Howard10349224
Kosciusko9643121
Hancock8578147
Bartholomew8174157
Warrick7864156
Floyd7815180
Grant7248179
Wayne7164201
Boone6979103
Morgan6768141
Dubois6224118
Marshall6214116
Cass6024110
Henry5903110
Dearborn589878
Noble581688
Jackson509476
Shelby502396
Lawrence4753122
Gibson445595
Clinton443555
Harrison441775
DeKalb440385
Montgomery439890
Whitley406744
Huntington403381
Steuben400859
Miami395769
Jasper389155
Knox377691
Putnam373461
Wabash362383
Ripley347370
Adams345555
Jefferson336186
White332753
Daviess3035100
Wells295481
Decatur289892
Greene286885
Fayette284864
Posey274335
LaGrange273272
Scott270356
Clay267148
Washington246336
Randolph245183
Jennings235349
Spencer234531
Starke228159
Fountain222048
Sullivan214843
Owen212358
Fulton204043
Jay201032
Carroll193820
Orange188255
Perry187237
Rush175926
Vermillion175344
Franklin170435
Tipton166646
Parke149616
Pike138334
Blackford136232
Pulaski120847
Newton114936
Brown104443
Benton102614
Crawford102516
Martin91815
Warren84115
Switzerland8158
Union72810
Ohio57911
Unassigned0424

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1109697

Reported Deaths: 20213
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1289521469
Cuyahoga1158802216
Hamilton814201251
Montgomery525861049
Summit484551006
Lucas43384824
Butler39098606
Stark33355930
Lorain25689506
Warren24612305
Mahoning22388602
Lake21219389
Clermont20138253
Delaware18892136
Licking16671225
Fairfield16589204
Trumbull16560483
Medina15618273
Greene15292248
Clark14244306
Wood13296200
Portage13254216
Allen11919239
Richland11611211
Miami10857225
Wayne9153225
Columbiana9039230
Muskingum8909135
Pickaway8664122
Tuscarawas8654251
Marion8649139
Erie8058165
Ashtabula7171179
Hancock6999133
Ross6948163
Geauga6850151
Scioto6540106
Belmont6159174
Union585049
Lawrence5741102
Jefferson5683159
Huron5554122
Sandusky5444126
Darke5420129
Seneca5350128
Washington5321109
Athens524460
Auglaize502487
Mercer487785
Shelby477095
Knox4573112
Madison444566
Ashland435997
Putnam4336104
Defiance432399
Fulton432274
Crawford4046110
Brown402761
Logan387678
Preble3859105
Clinton379266
Ottawa373581
Highland360266
Williams348578
Champaign344959
Guernsey325254
Jackson318454
Perry297350
Morrow291940
Fayette285750
Hardin275765
Henry273867
Holmes2703101
Coshocton269360
Van Wert247264
Adams243156
Pike242835
Gallia240850
Wyandot234756
Hocking220663
Carroll197548
Paulding176642
Meigs148540
Monroe136345
Noble136239
Harrison114138
Morgan110124
Vinton85717
Unassigned03
Fort Wayne
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Angola
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Huntington
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