Feb 15, 2018, 12:47 AM ET

17 dead in 'horrific' Florida school shooting, suspect had 'countless magazines'

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A gunman opened fire at a South Florida high school today, killing 17 people and sending students running for their lives, according to law enforcement officers on the scene.

-- The suspect, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, was taken into custody off campus. He slipped out of the school after the shooting by blending in with other students who were trying to escape, according to two law enforcement sources and an eyewitness.

-- Cruz had "countless magazines" and was believed to have an AR-15 rifle, the sheriff said.

-- The sheriff said Cruz had attended the school but was expelled for disciplinary reasons.

-- Students were seen sprinting out of the school with their hands up as authorities with guns drawn swarmed the area. Other students were seen lined up one by one, leaving the area in an orderly fashion. Some students were hysterical, reported ABC affiliate WPLG.

PHOTO: Medical personnel tend to a victim following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, 2018.John McCall/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP
Medical personnel tend to a victim following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, 2018.

PHOTO: Medical personnel tend to a victim following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, 2018.John McCall/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP
Medical personnel tend to a victim following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, 2018.

PHOTO: Women embrace in a waiting area for parents of students after a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Feb. 14, 2018.Joel Auerbach/AP
Women embrace in a waiting area for parents of students after a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Feb. 14, 2018.

Student Michael Katz told ABC News that at the end of the day he "heard what sounded like a garbage truck like banging."

"Then also I hear, 'Boom, boom, boom.' I hear screaming everywhere," he said. "I just got underneath my teacher's desk."

"We had police invade the school, and we were taken out," Katz said. "Fortunately, my father was there to pick me up."

PHOTO: People emerge from a building with their hands raised after reports of a shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Feb. 14, 2018.WPLG
People emerge from a building with their hands raised after reports of a shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Feb. 14, 2018.

PHOTO: People are brought out of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after a shooting at the school on Feb. 14, 2018 in Parkland, Fla.Joe Raedle/Getty Images
People are brought out of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after a shooting at the school on Feb. 14, 2018 in Parkland, Fla.

One mother shaking with worry told WPLG her daughter said she was OK, huddled in a locked classroom.

"She's terrified," the mother said. "I'm glad that she's able to text."

Freshman student Samuel Dykes told the Orlando Sentinel that he was on the third floor of the school when he heard gunshots.

Officers told students to look forward as they evacuated, but Dykes told the newspaper that he saw several bodies in a classroom.

PHOTO: Family members embrace following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Feb. 14, 2018, in Parkland, Fla.Wilfredo Lee/AP
Family members embrace following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Feb. 14, 2018, in Parkland, Fla.

PHOTO: Students released from a lockdown embrace following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Feb. 14, 2018.John McCall/South Florida Sun-Sentinel/AP
Students released from a lockdown embrace following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Feb. 14, 2018.

Another mother told the affiliate that her daughter "keeps telling me to stay away. 'Be safe, Mom, stay away.'"

"I won’t stay away," she said, telling her daughter, "I'm your mother."

PHOTO: Nikolas Cruz, the suspect in a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., is escorted out of a hospital and into a police car.WPLG
Nikolas Cruz, the suspect in a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., is escorted out of a hospital and into a police car.

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel called it a "horrific homicidal act."

Investigators are probing Cruz's social media accounts for clues, the sheriff said, calling some of the things posted "very disturbing."

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Dramatic video shows students inside Florida classroom following deadly shooting

"If you see something, say something," Israel said at a news conference earlier today. "If anybody has any indicator that someone's going through a behavioral change, on social media if there are disturbing photos, perhaps bombs or firearms or just videos or pictures that are just not right, please make sure law enforcement knows about it."

On Wednesday evening, a large law enforcement presence consisting of both the Broward County Sheriff's Office and Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office was spotted at the Lantana Cascade Mobile Home Park in Lake Worth. WPBF reported it may be related to the school shooting.

PHOTO: Nikolas Cruz, the suspect in a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., is escorted out of a hospital and into a police car.WPLG
Nikolas Cruz, the suspect in a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., is escorted out of a hospital and into a police car.

Israel said this evening officials were still working to identify the victims. He said a football coach was among the dead.

PHOTO: A map shows the location of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.ABC News
A map shows the location of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

Pierre Jospitre said he was pulling into his driveway from work when he saw the suspect on the ground with an official on top of him.

Within seconds, several law enforcement officers swarmed the area, Jospitre said, adding that when the suspect was picked up off the ground, he was vomiting and was not walking right.

The school will be closed for the rest of the week, Broward County Public Schools announced Wednesday night. There are over 3,000 students at the school, according to its website. Broward County Public Schools superintendent said grief counselors would be available.

President Donald Trump tweeted, "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."

ABC News' Pierre Thomas, Aaron Katersky, Rachel Katz, Matt Gutman, Josh Margolin, Jack Date and Ben Stein contributed to this report.

News - 17 dead in 'horrific' Florida school shooting, suspect had 'countless magazines'

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  • bptr

    Imagine if went the other way and starting selling hand-grenades, rocket launchers, full machine guns, etc. at Walmart.
    Would they be used? Could we just hope that people with mental problems and children didn't use them? Why are there any restrictions at all?
    This isn't rocket science. We just have emotional idiots arguing against common sense.

  • JR

    Make the whole country a gun-free zone.

  • JR

    Make guns illegal. That's the only way we have been able to keep drugs out of school!

  • Phil Leesha

    If a “Stop The Bleed” wall-mounted kit was in each class room - and staff and students trained in its use, more lives may have been saved. The Golden Hour that all first responders strive to beat was lost as law enforcement sought out the shooter for two hours or more. Fifteen minutes of uncontrolled arterial bleeding will kill the patient. It doesn’t HAVE to happen that way.

  • Earthgal

    People died and all you want to do is argue about the NRA and TRUMP?? Disgusting!!!!!!!!

  • Tim Rubin Halcomb

    I feel bad for the victims, but people should realize that our country would be so much safer had Satanism and mean people not seized control of it. Furthermore, gun laws isn't going to help. In fact, it would only make us even more vulnerable. I live next to Chicago, and I can tell you first had how much more horrible it was when the citizens weren't allowed to bear arms to protect themselves. The gang bangers will always get guns. They break the law so they're not worried about purchasing a firearm legally. What REALLY needs to be done is people should start sticking up for those who are truly doing their jobs. Counselors in the schools do need to step it up. I also do believe that our schools are going to have to step up and start searching students before allowing them to enter the building. It will take a lot of work, but things can be made better. Taking the rights of the people to bear arms will not help. In fact, it will only make it worse. Who listens to me? Well, maybe not too many people, but I am right!

  • charleywarady

    It's the government's fault. Mental illness doesn't kill people...guns do.

  • DreamGirlsDaily

    So... Where is the evidence?

  • Indie6050

    For starters how about putting the Obama era order or whatever it was called back in, and have ss report mental issues that are considered a threat, to the national background check. If the Obama name bothers him, call it something else, better yet, put the Trump name on it.

  • Thud2

    If I was a teacher today, I would be carrying and to hell with liberal administrations. A gun free zone sign is made of paper or tin and obviously won't stop a bullet.

  • former democrat

    It's sad we have to have metal detectors and arm security to make our schools safe, and this will continue if we don't stop making it a political battle and really look at the problem. What's wrong with our society that kids are going on killing spree's is it the lack of discipline in the home & in schools? We're missing something that helps our kids grow up strong mentally, physically, emotionally to be responsible adults. Laws & police can only do so much what keeps us safe and society in-tacked is our own morality & understanding of right & wrong. Parents seem to think when their kids hit teenage years they need less attention but in truth they need you the most, they need to be involved in the household not hiding in their rooms. During summer at walmarts I had to force myself around a late teen or early adult who was just standing in the middle of the isle's entrance with his hood up while his parents shop. He was a complete zombie just standing their no purpose in his own little world, I stared at the so called father who should have yanked the hood off once inside and smacked him on the back of the head to wake him up. Then the mother should have given him part of the list to fill. Lets keep them engaged & focused so they don't get lost in their own heads.

    Another problem is society turning a blind eye to those who are mentally deranged like the sandy brooker shooter his mother knew he was a sociopath but not just did she do nothing she did the opposite feeding his violent nature.
    We're under the assumption that mental derangements can be controlled with drugs, but can you imagine how powerful these drugs must be and since the individual doesn't think there's anything wrong with them they don't take the drugs. We got to think smart how do we go back to when police were able to stop crimes not just respond, People who are a danger to others need to be confined.