Florida School Shooting: 17 dead, at least 14 injured, suspect ID’d
Police in Broward County, Florida on Wednesday night were holding a 19 year old man after they say he opened fire on his former high school with an assault-style rifle, killing 17 people and wounded nearly as many.
High school students were seen running for their lives and now one of them says “everyone predicted it,” that their former classmate Nikolas Cruz would someday do what police say he did: open fire inside and outside Stoneman-Douglas High School northwest of Fort Lauderdale.
WATCH: Student at Florida school says ‘everyone predicted this’
Social media video puts on display the horrifying sounds of an attack that did not surprise some students and teachers, who say Cruz was a loner, a weapons fanatic and a well-known threat.
Hospital officials said a total of 17 victims were transported to Broward Health system-wide, as was Cruz. He was treated at Broward Health North and then released to police.
One student and former classmate of Cruz’ said “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.”
When Cruz was a student at Stoneman Douglas he was caught with bullet fragments in his backpack, and the school barred him from carrying a backpack. Eventually school officials expelled him for disciplinary reasons. Wednesday night law enforcement sources said that during the shooting attack Cruz put on a gas mask, pulled a fire alarm and when people starting evacuating he set off smoke grenades and shot through the fog.
Investigators say he used an AR-15, military style assault rifle and came packing multiple magazines of ammunition. That is the same type of weapon used in numerous mass shootings, including the Sandy Hook school attack in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012. Wednesday’s shooting was the deadliest school attack since Newtown.
Broward County sheriff’s officials said in Wednesday’s attack 12 of the dead were found inside the school, two were shot and killed outside the building and one was killed on a nearby road. Two additional victims died at hospitals. The casualties were students and school staff.
Some of those still hospitalized were reported in critical condition.
Cruz managed to get away by running out of the building with escaping students, investigators said
An hour later and a mile away he was spotted by police and arrested.
“We’ve already began to dissect his web sites and things that social media he was on and some of the things that come to mind are very, very disturbing,” said Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel.
An Instagram account, which several students told the Miami Herald belonged to Cruz, is among those social media accounts obtained by police before it was taken down. It shows Cruz’s apparent fixation with knives and guns and at the bottom of the page are Allahu Akbar quotes, often said as a battle cry by Jihadists right before attacks.
Federal investigators said they do not believe the shooting was connected to terrorism.
Student Daniel Huerfano said he recognized Cruz from one of the Instagram photos in which Cruz had posed with a gun in front of his face. He recalled that Cruz was shy when he attended the school and remembered seeing him walk around with his lunch bag.
Cruz “was that weird kid that you see, like a loner,” he said.
A family member told that Cruz was the adopted son of Roger and Lynda Cruz. He has a younger brother, and both of his parents are now deceased. The family member said Lynda Cruz died last year.
Cruz reportedly worked at a nearby Dollar Tree store. Employees told they are “shocked” by his actions, and described him as loyal and responsible, saying he “would arrive to work a half hour early.”
The Dollar Tree manager said Cruz was transferred from the store near the school to a different Dollar Tree, but he did not remember the reason why. He described Cruz as a nice kid who was always in a good mood.