Agencies: At least 17 people were killed Wednesday in a high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, the Broward County Sheriff’s office said.
The suspect, 19-year-old former student Nikolas Cruz, is in custody. Cruz was expelled for unspecified disciplinary reasons, and police are investigating his digital footprint, Sheriff Scott Israel said. So far, what they’ve found is “very, very disturbing,” he said.
“It’s a horrific, horrific day,” Israel said. “Just pray for this city. Pray for this school, the parents, the folks that lost their lives.”
Law enforcement responded to reports of a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shortly before 3 p.m. and encountered a chaotic scene.
Investigators believe the suspect pulled the fire alarm to draw people out of classrooms and increase the number of casualties, a law enforcement source told CNN. But the school already had performed a fire drill earlier in the day, leading some to think it was a false alarm.
As some left the building, others sought cover in classrooms as the school went into lockdown. Students used their phones to text loved ones and share videos and pictures on social media. One teacher, Melissa Falkowski, said she hid in a closet with 19 students from her newspaper class.