Home 5 News 5 Florida shooting live updates: 17 dead in attack police believe involved AR-15 rifle – suspect named as Nikolas Cruz

Florida shooting live updates: 17 dead in attack police believe involved AR-15 rifle – suspect named as Nikolas Cruz

Seventeen people have been killed and more than a dozen injured after a gunman opened fire at a Florida high school.

Aerial footage showed students streaming out of the school with their hands in the air before dropping their backpacks into a large pile next to police and sitting on nearby grass. Parents were instructed to meet at a location away from the school, where they waited anxiously to be reunited with their children.

The carnage began shortly before school was to be let out at 2.40 pm, when the sound of gunfire ripped through the air.

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Live Updates

Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has said the deadly school shooting in Florida should “strike fear into all Americans.” 

The Democrat from Arizona was shot in the head and survived a shooting attack in 2011. 

She said in a statement that her heart goes out to the victims and survivors of the school shooting, She called it the latest attack in an epidemic of gun violence that continues “days after deadly day.” 

She also says in a statement that the latest in a series of deadly US shootings should stir fresh resolve in Congress to “find the courage to pass the laws we need to protect our children.” 

Associated Press are reporting that the gunman wore a gas mask and carried smoke grenades, although it is unclear at this stage whether these were used.

Senator Bill Nelson said he had been briefed by the FBI and that the gunman had “set off the fire alarm so the kids would come pouring out of the classrooms into the hall. And there the carnage began.”

The New York Daily News has started to respond to tweets about the shooting by politicians by putting how much campaign funding they received from gun rights groups and their ranking from the National Rifle Association (NRA).

I’m sure Congress as a whole will be feeling pressure over gun control tomorrow.

The tweet below is in reply to a tweet from Senator Ted Cruz.

A fire alarm sounded during the attack, with officials believing this may have been used to draw more people out into corridors of the school.

The Broward County sheriff said that police found “very, very disturbing” material when searching the social media of MrCruz, the suspect: “We have already began to dissect his websites and the social media that he was on. Some of the things that have come to mind were very, very disturbing.”

Mr Cruz was also in possession of an AR-15 assault rifle.

At the Broward Health North hospital system, officials told reporters that the suspect was taken to the hospital and released to police custody. At this facility, three patients are in critical condition and three are in stable condition, as of around 7pm local time. Two died there.

A note that the 17 people confirmed killed makes this one of America’s top 10 deadliest mass shootings.
The shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado, which for a long time stood as the symbol of school shootings, is no longer among the 10 deadliest. Thirteen people died.
Three of the five deadliest — at a concert in Las Vegas, at a nightclub in Orlando, and at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas – have occurred in the last few years

People who have lost loved ones in previous mass shootings are weighing in, calling for action:

The sheriff said investigators have begun the work of combing through suspect Nikolaus Cruz’s online life, which contained some “very disturbing” content.

Sheriff Scott Israel told reporters that 12 victims died in the building, three victims died outside, and two succumbed to their injuries in the hospital. Another 14 to 18 people were injured.

​Authorities have identified the suspect as 19-year-old Nikolaus Cruz, a former student at the school. Mr Israel said the suspect had been expelled from the school before the shooting for “disciplinary reasons”.

Below is a list of the other largest school shootings in US history

32 killed, Apr 16, 2007, Virginia Tech
27 killed, Dec 14, 2012, Sandy Hook Elementary School
18 killed, August 1, 1966, University of Texas
13 killed, Apr 20, 1999 – Columbine

A sheriff says 17 people have died in the shooting attack on a South Florida high school. 

Sheriff Scott Israel of Broward County says the 19-year-old suspect is in custody and that investigators are beginning to “dissect” what happened in the attack Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. 

He says the suspect, a former student, was previously expelled for disciplinary reasons. 

Israel says the man had at least one rifle and multiple magazines. 

He says most of the fatalities were inside the building though some were found fatally shot outside. 

Florida Senator Marco Rubio has spoken out on the shooting, calling it “a terrible situation”.

“It’s amazing the amount of carnage that one individual could carry out in such a short period of time if it’s well-orchestrated and planned,” he said.

Multiple outlets are reporting 16 people were killed in the shooting, citing law enforcement sources. Authorities have not confirmed this number. The outlets did not distinguish how many of the victims were school employees and how many were students.

Parkland, where today’s shooting occurred, was named Florida’s safest city last year by the National Council for Home Safety and Security.
The home security industry trade association praised Parkland’s “character and charm,” and touted the city’s notably low crime rate on its website.
The rankings were based on recent FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics and the council’s own research.

Melissa Falkowski, a teacher at the school, told CNN she pulled 19 children into a closet with her to protect them from the shooter. She estimated the group waited for 40 minutes before stepping outside.
Ms Falkowski said the school had provided training on active shooter situations weeks ago.
“If we hadn’t had that training it could have been a lot worse,” she said.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has issued a statement on the shooting, calling it “an unspeakable tragedy”.

“Let us keep the victims in our hearts,” he said. “A long night lies ahead for many families. Right now, the whole country is standing with the Parkland community.”

The Broward County School District Superintendent has said he had no knowledge that Nicolas Cruz, the former student named as the suspect, could have been a threat.
“We received no warnings,” Superintendent Robert Runcie said, according to the Miami Herald. “Potentially there could have been signs out there. But we didn’t have any warning or phone calls or threats that were made.”
Other school employees told the Herald they had been instructed not to let Mr Cruz on campus.

Sheriff Scott Israel of Broward County said the 19-year-old suspect – identified in media reports as Nikolaus Cruz – is in custody and that investigators are beginning to “dissect” what happened in the attack.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, about 45 miles (72 km) north of Miami, was placed on a “code red” lock down, and students tweeted and texted from inside about the chaos that had come down upon their school.

Of the fatalities, 12 were killed inside the school, two were killed outside on the campus grounds, one was killed on a road outside of the school, and another two were transported to the hospital but died there.

Sheriff Israel said the suspect, a former student, was previously expelled for disciplinary reasons. Mr Israel added that the gunman had at least one rifle – believed to be an AR-15 – and multiple magazines.

The White House has cancelled its daily press briefing and President Donald Trump has spoken with Florida Governors Rick Scott about the shooting. He said in a tweet that the White House is “working closely with law enforcement on the terrible Florida school shooting.” 

He earlier tweeted his condolences to the families of the victims. 

Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Mr Trump has offered Florida federal assistance, if needed. The homeland security secretary has also been in touch with state and local officials. 

Ms Sanders said, “We continue to keep the victims, and their friends and family, in our thoughts and prayers.” 

Agencies contributed to this report

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