Update: Reports confirm at least 17 individuals have died. Suspect’s name is Nikolaus Cruz, 19.
The Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, near Coral Springs, was riddled with gunfire on Wednesday. The Broward County Sheriff’s office reports that there are multiple fatalities, at least 20 injured, and the suspected shooter is now in custody.
Sheriff Scott Israel said the of the horrific event, “It’s catastrophic. There really are no words.” The Sheriff confirmed that at least 16 individuals were killed and many were transported to area hospitals for vary levels of injuries.
The department reported via social media that they have one suspect in custody. The alleged shooter is said have once been a student at the Majory Stoneman Douglas High School, but was not currently enrolled. There were no additional details given about how he gained entrance to the school. He is thought to be about 18 years old.
Broward County Schools superintendent Robert Runcie said that the shooter was both outside and inside the school and may have accessed the building during dismissal.
Student sources say that the school had a fire drill earlier in the day. Then, at about 2:30 p.m., they heard the fire alarm followed by what sounded like gunshots. Chaos broke out as students scrambled for safety. The school went into lockdown mode with students and faculty hiding barricaded behind desks, in closets, and hunkered in locked classrooms. Many students took to their cell phones to contact parents, some say they called 9-1-1.
FBI and ATF agents as well as Coral Springs police and Broward County Sheriff’s officers made way to the active shooter scene. At one point, what appeared to be a SWAT team forced entry into the school and shortly thereafter students began to stream out of the building with hands over their heads, running to assigned areas.
The scene remained active through Wednesday afternoon and students and faculty exited in spurts at times.
Parents were not allowed near campus due to the severe danger as the gunman remained at large. Scared and worried parents say that they were not immediately given any information, which worsened their anxiety about their students’ well-being.
The Broward County Sheriff’s eventually directed parents to wait for and retrieve their students from a nearby Marriot Resort.
We will continue to update this story as more reliable information becomes available.