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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  • former democrat

    Its sad that these kids are being used by the very people responsible for this shooting, the school board the county & the joke of a sherif who all dropped the ball but want to blame the nra. This kid was a known threat to the point where he wasn't allowed to carry a book bag & finally removed from the school. Yet they did nothing the sheriff's department allowed the school board to deal with juvenile crimes which isn't their job and left this threat with no record. The school had no designated entrances secured by cops or security guards & being yet another gun free zone they didn't allow the armed security in the building & based on the deputies reaction I'm betting the boards agreement with that incompetent progressive sherif was to keep all armed law enforcement out of the school that's just a logical guess. What we should be asking ourselves is whats wrong with our society I mean even at our wildest times when we had no gun laws & the highest point of organized crime did we ever see civilians, schools or kids attacked like this. At those times even the worse of us would hunt down those who crossed that line. Now there seems to be no morality no ethics no humanity holding people back. Is it the lack of disipline kids have in their lives being raised with some misguided expectation of entitlement that they are not mentally or emotionally able to deal with when they don't get it, I don't know but this is what the debate should be not blaming a tool that can't do a thing without a person behind it or expecting laws would do any good against those who do not obey laws & would do such a thing.

  • Michelle Gaskins

    I REPEAT: MASS KILLINGS ARE SUCCESSFUL IN AREAS WHERE THE METHOD TO KILL CAN BE COMPLETED ""WITHOUT DETECTION."" Study before you post people.

    Also... Ignorant is not name calling. Ignorant definition = lacking in knowledge or training; unlearned: 'an ignorant man'. If you are not trained on what guns are, WHAT THEY ARE FOR, the proper intended use, the legal intended use, what happens when you continuously restrict guns from a citizens right to defend themselves, what happens when you disarm ALL people from guns rather than disarming a person from the hate within themself.... You are blinded with IGNORANCE to GUNS.

    Guns - A Bona Fide way to eat. If all hunters had a Bow and Arrow even still you would be trying to ban those too because it would be those that wouldbe under attack by STRICTER LAWS. Take the GUNS? Enter new Creative Bombs that inflict worse damage than one person could possibly do with a gun. As with anything there is always certain types of LEVELS of expertise that enable an individual to be qualified to handle types of weapons. If you have Expert type weapons in the hands of the average ordinary citizen... there is a reason for it. DId they qualify? Has their qualification gone array? Or has the mentally unstable just gotten better at masking themselves and using your weapons of protection against you?

  • Michelle Gaskins

    Laws don't STOP CRIMINALS. LAWS are for those that abide the law. Stricter gun laws restrict the law abiding citizens.... If I'm not mistaken the issue everyone is screaming about is "STOP KILLING US"... "SCHOOL SHOOTINGS" - pre-planned attacks by people who intend to kill massive amounts of INNOCENT UNPROTECTED UNARMED PEOPLE. EASY TARGETS. Mass Killings are successful in areas where the method to kill can be completed without detection.

  • Michelle Gaskins

    GUNS DON'T KILL PEOPLE.... PEOPLE KILL PEOPLE. YOU WANT KILLING TO STOP??? ... YOU WANT VIOLENCE TO STOP??? ... LOVE THY NEIGHBOR SO ABUNDANTLY TIL HE CAN HATE NO MORE...GIVE TO THY NEIGHBOR SO ABUNDANTLY TIL HE HAS SO MUCH THAT HE TOO MUST GIVE. Educate your generation with the right perspective. The constitution is in absolute correctness. We "the law" abiding citizens have a right to PROTECT OURSELVES. We the Law abiding citizens don't hurt other people, we love them... and We the Law abiding citizens know ALLLLL of our rights and the right to bare arms is one of them. My home is guarded well and even still if the NON LAW ABIDING citizen wants to hurt, then they will succeed. Law abiding citizens have a right to have a "FIGHTING CHANCE" against evil. Are you a law abiding citizen? GOOD!!!! You want to help solve the problem? GREAT! Arm and train the people who are already put over you to watch over you everyday.... The Principal, the teachers, Giudance counselors and staff. The ones who are screened so heavily for mental unstableness. The ones who are monitored not only by those they teach but by parents as well. Schools are defenseless!!! Criminals know this!! And the IGNORANT WANTS TO DISARM the REST OF THE COUNTRY. Innocent lives are being taken and it isn't the GUN that is doing it. As a Drunk Driver is to a car..... its the DRIVER and what they are pouring into their bodies that ruin their stability. What is ruining the stability of our YOUTH today???? ASK YOURSELF THAT! Comments towards the NRA are ignorant!!! I can easily join a little group of Teens that are ANTI-GUNS and support them.... put their logo all over my facebook page and rant .... then I could turn around and KILL all people in the NRA with A BOMB. Point made! GUNS are not the problem. Its the person doing the thinking!! The choices being made today by our youth to either live by THE MORAL RULES OF SOCIETY - love thy neighbor, not kill thy neighbor when I'm mad. The BIBLE is the first place start! So anyone who loses a precious soul dear to them can THANK YOU for promoting IGNORANT Comments and thoughts that divert others from solving the real problem.

  • EXTERMINATED

    Why is the alleged shooter seen wearing two different colored T-shirt at the time he was being arrested? One picture of him in a purple T-shirt another in a grey T-shirt?

  • 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.