17 killed in shooting at high school in Parkland, Florida, authorities say

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At least 17 people were dead after a 19-year-old former student opened fire at a South Florida high school on Wednesday afternoon, officials said.

The suspect was identified as Nikolaus Cruz, a former student who had been expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said. He said at least 14 other people were injured in addition to the 17 people killed.

Officials believe the gunman had one AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle, but it was unclear if he had any other weapons.

The suspect “was taken into custody about an hour after he left Stoneman Douglas after he committed this horrific, detestable act,” Israel said. Federal and local authorities told NBC News there was no indication that the gunman had an accomplice or accomplices.


What we know so far:

  • 17 fatalities, according to officials, both inside and outside of the school
  • The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland started around 2:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday
  • Suspect Nikolaus Cruz, a former Douglas High student, is in custody

Parkland, in north Broward County, is about 30 miles northwest of Fort Lauderdale. The shooting on the sprawling campus happened despite the presence of police officers at the school.

Broward County schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said at last two police cars were typically on campus “on a daily basis.”

Map locating Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida

While students filed out of the school with their hands up, heavily armed SWAT team members were doing a class-by-class search to make sure there were “no other shooters” — and to retrieve any bodies, he said.

Israel, who said his triplets once attended that school, urged worried parents to head to a nearby Marriott hotel to collect their children.

“This is a terrible day for Broward County, the state of Florida, the United States,” he said. “There really are no words.”

The first sign that something awful was happening came around 2:30 p.m., not long before classes were supposed to have been dismissed, when authorities were called to respond to an active shooter.

For more than an hour, the school was at the mercy of a gunman on the loose.

“He was outside and inside the school,” Israel said.

Just after 4 p.m., the Broward County Sheriff’s Office announced on Twitter that the suspect had been apprehended.

Not long after, stunned survivors began sharing their accounts of what happened.

“I was on the first floor of the building where the shots happened first,” freshman Jason Snytte told NBC News. “I was in the classroom right next to the outside, the closest classroom to it. It started there. I heard six or seven shots. Our door was open. I ran and closed it, and everybody ran into a corner.”

Jason, who said the shots were deafening, said they listened to their teacher and stayed put until police arrived and told them to evacuate.

“We were all freaking out. Our hearts were racing,” he said. “We didn’t know what was happening.”

Image: Parkland, Florida, shooting

Students leave Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, after reports of a shooting.