PARKLAND, Fla. (Reuters) – A Florida community will be part of collectively on Thursday to mourn the 17 victims of a suspected lone gunman, as officers search to find how the heavily-armed teenager managed to mingle with college students in one of many deadliest school shootings in U.S. historical past.
The ex-pupil, recognized as Nikolas Cruz, 19, walked into the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Wednesday shortly earlier than courses ended and opened fireplace on college students and lecturers, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel stated.
Cruz was armed with an AR-15-style rifle and had a number of magazines of ammunition when he surrendered to officers in a close-by residential space, police stated. He cherished weapons and was expelled for unspecified disciplinary causes, police and former classmates stated.
The taking pictures was the 18th in a U.S. school this 12 months, in accordance with gun management group Everytown for Gun Safety.
It was the deadliest ever at an American excessive school, surpassing the 1999 rampage at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, the place two youngsters killed 12 college students and a instructor after which themselves.
It was additionally the second-deadliest at a U.S. public school, behind the 2012 bloodbath of 20 first-graders and 6 educators at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, by a gunman who additionally killed his mom and himself.
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Since Sandy Hook, U.S. colleges have put in electronically managed doorways and added safety employees.
“Our focus at the School District is certainly to find out from a safety perspective what’s occurred,” Marjory Stoneman Douglas High Board Member Donna Korn informed Treasure Coast, a neighborhood newspaper group.
A legislation enforcement officer is assigned to each school in the district. The sheriff’s workplace additionally supplies lively shooter coaching and the colleges have a single level of entry, she stated.
“We’ve got the people prepared, we have prepared the campuses, but sometimes people still find a way to let these horrific things happen,” Korn stated.
Asked about having armed guards in colleges, Israel informed a information convention: “If a person is predisposed to commit such a horrific act …there not a lot law enforcement or any entity can do about it.”
‘THE WORST AND BEST OF HUMANITY’
The Valentine’s Day bloodshed in the racially blended community about 45 miles (72 km) north of Miami was the most recent outbreak of gun violence that has turn into a daily incidence at U.S. colleges and faculty campuses in current years.
Television footage confirmed photos of scholars streaming out of the constructing with fingers raised in the air, weaving their method between closely armed, helmeted law enforcement officials, as a hearth truck and different emergency automobiles idled close by.
Anguished dad and mom raced to the school of three,300 college students and a close-by resort that was arrange as a checkpoint to seek out their kids.
“This has been a day we’ve seen the worst in humanity. Tomorrow (Thursday) is going to bring out the best in humanity, as we come together to move forward from this unspeakable tragedy,” Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie informed a information convention.
Florida’s two U.S. senators, briefed by federal legislation enforcement officers, stated the assailant wore a fuel masks as he stalked into the school carrying a rifle, ammunition cartridges and smoke grenades, then pulled a hearth alarm, prompting college students and employees to pour from their school rooms into hallways.
The gunman tried to mix in with college students who had been fleeing the school however was noticed and brought into custody, the sheriff stated in an announcement.
A chilling mobile phone video clip broadcast by CBS News confirmed what the community stated was the taking pictures in progress from inside a classroom, the place a number of college students had been seen huddled or mendacity on the ground surrounded by principally empty desks. A fast sequence of loud gunshots are heard together with hysterical screaming.
One survivor, Kyle Yeoward, 16, stated he and about 15 fellow college students and a instructor hid in a closet for practically two hours earlier than police arrived.
Those lifeless had been a mixture of college students and adults. Twelve had been killed contained in the school, two simply exterior and one on the road, whereas two additional victims died from their wounds in hospital, Israel stated.
Additional reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; modifying by John Stonestreet