CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. – (CBS NEWS) – UPDATE: President Trump is expected to speak about the deadly Florida school shooting Thursday morning at 8am PT. We’ll carry it live here on FM NEWS 101 KXL.
Florida school shooting suspect charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.
PARKLAND, Fla. — An orphaned 19-year-old with a troubled past and an AR-15 rifle was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder Thursday morning after being questioned for hours by state and federal authorities following the deadliest school shooting in the U.S. in five years. Fifteen wounded survivors were hospitalized as bodies were recovered from inside and around Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Nikolas Jacob Cruz was booked into the Broward County Jail early Thursday, still wearing the hospital gown he was given after being treated for labored breathing following his arrest.
Just before gunfire broke out, some students at the school thought they were having another fire drill.
Such an exercise had forced them to leave their classrooms hours earlier. So when the alarm went off Wednesday afternoon shortly before they were to be dismissed, they once again filed out into the hallways.
That’s when police say Cruz, equipped with a gas mask, smoke grenades and multiple magazines of ammunition, opened fire with a semi-automatic weapon, killing 17 people, injuring 15 and sending hundreds of students fleeing into the streets.
It was the nation’s deadliest school shooting since a gunman attacked an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, more than five years ago. The overall death toll differs by how such shootings are defined, but Everytown For Gun Safety has tallied 290 school shootings in America since 2013, and this attack makes 18 so far this year.
Student Jamie Guttenberg and assistant football coach and security guard Aaron Feis were killed in the shooting, reports CBS News correspondent Manuel Bojorquez. Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel confirmed Wednesday night that a football coach was killed and the son of a sheriff’s deputy was shot and is in stable condition.
Israel said the bodies of 12 of the 17 victims in a mass shooting at a Florida high school were found inside the building. He said two other bodies were discovered outside the school, another was found a short distance away along a local road and two others died at a hospital.
A law enforcement source said the suspect appears to have pulled the school fire alarm, causing chaos, then started shooting, reports CBS News news senior investigative producer Pat Milton.
“Our district is in a tremendous state of grief and sorrow,” said Robert Runcie, superintendent of the school district in Parkland, about an hour’s drive north of Miami. “It is a horrible day for us.”
Runcie said there will be grief counseling for students and victims’ families beginning early Thursday.
“We are going to pull through this as a community,” Runcie said.
Authorities offered no immediate details about Cruz or his possible motive, except to say he’d been kicked out of the high school, which has about 3,000 students. Students who knew him described a volatile teenager whose strange behavior had caused others to end friendships with him.
President Trump tweeted Thursday about the shooting:
The president offered sympathy in a tweet Wednesday and said he spoke with Florida’s governor, but Mr. Trump hasn’t addressed the nation about the shooting. He has cited mental health before as a cause for mass shootings, dismissing questions about gun control.
Cruz’s mother, Lynda Cruz, died of pneumonia on Nov. 1 neighbors, friends and family members said, according to the Sun Sentinel. Cruz and her husband, who died of a heart attack several years ago, adopted Nikolas and his biological brother, Zachary, after the couple moved from Long Island in New York to Broward County.
The boys were left in the care of a family friend after their mother died, family member Barbara Kumbatovich, of Long Island, said.
Unhappy there, Nikolasy in northwest Broward. The family agreed and Cruz moved in around Thanksgiving. According to the family’s lawyer, who did not identify them, they knew that Cruz owned the AR-15 but made him keep it locked up in a cabinet. He did have the key, however.
Attorney Jim Lewis said the family is devastated and didn’t see this coming. They are cooperating with authorities, he said.
Victoria Olvera, a 17-year-old junior at the school, said Cruz was expelled last school year because he got into a fight with his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend. She said he had been abusive to his girlfriend.
“I think everyone had in their minds if anybody was going to do it, it was going to be him,” she said.
Student Brandon Minoff told CBSN he had had classes with Cruz. Minoff described the suspect as a “strange kid.”
(ORIGINAL STORY) — 17 people were killed and multiple people were injured when a former student opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida on Wednesday, prompting a massive police response and manhunt as frightened students hid in their classrooms.
The suspect, who had “at one time” attended the school but was no longer enrolled, was taken into custody without incident off campus, Israel said. He didn’t know why the suspect left the school. The suspect is about 18 years old, according to Israel.
A male that fit the description of the suspect was seen being taken into custody, CBS News’ Jeff Pegues reports. He was later transported to the hospital and seen being wheeled into the facility on a gurney.
Broward County Schools superintendent Robert Runcie said there were numerous fatalities, but couldn’t confirm the number. He called it a “horrific situation.”
“It’s just a heartbreaking tragedy,” Runcie said.
Runcie said the shooter entered the school during dismissal. Israel said the shooter was outside and inside the school at various times. Runcie said there was no warning or threats made before the incident.
Student Brandon Minoff, speaking with CBSN, said he had had classes with the suspected shooter. Minoff described the suspect as a “strange kid.”
Ambulances converged on the scene as emergency workers appeared to be treating possibly wounded people on the sidewalks.
Television footage showed police in olive fatigues, with weapons drawn, entering the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, then dozens of children frantically running and walking quickly out. A police officer waved the students on, urging them to quickly evacuate the school.
Some students exited the building in single-file rows with hands raised overhead to show they carried no weapons. Others held onto other students as they made their way out past helmeted police in camouflage with weapons drawn.
Emergency medical personnel pulled stretchers from the backs of ambulances as police cars surrounded the parking lot. At least one person was seen being wheeled to the ambulance on a gurney.
Noah Parness, a 17-year-old junior, said the fire alarm went off for the second time of the day about 2:30 p.m. He said he and the other students calmly went outside to their fire drill areas when he suddenly heard several pops.
“Everyone was kind of just standing there calm, and then we saw a bunch of teachers running down the stairway, and then everybody shifted and broke into a sprint,” Parness said. “I hopped a fence.”
Student Jeiella Dodoo described a chaotic scene as students fled. She said she hurt her toe while jumping a fence. She heard from a friend that people were being loaded into ambulances.
“That’s when we knew it was really real, there was an actual shooter on campus,” Dodoo told CBS News.
Parent Caesar Figeuroa told CBS News his daughter was hiding in a closet and afraid to speak on the phone. He said they have been texting. The girl said she heard gunfire and the window blew, and she screamed and ran in the closet with her friend. She told Figeuroa she heard everyone screaming and running.
She said three students were shot in the classroom next to her. She was no longer hearing gunfire, Figeuroa said.
He said it was like a “war zone” with the police response.
“It’s the worst nightmare not hearing from my daughter for 20 minutes, it was the longest 20 minutes of my life,” Figeuroa said.
Another parent, Beth Feingold, says her daughter sent a text at 2:32 p.m. saying “We’re on code red. I’m fine.” But she then sent another text soon afterward saying, “Mom, I’m so scared.” The girl was later able to escape the school unharmed.
Len Murray’s 17-year-old son, a junior at the South Florida high school where shooting was reported, sent his parents a chilling text: “Mom and Dad, there have been shots fired on campus at school. There are police sirens outside. I’m in the auditorium and the doors are locked.”
Those words came at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday. A few minutes later, he texted again: “I’m fine.”
Murray raced to the school only to be stopped by authorities under a highway overpass within view of the school buildings in Parkland.
No information was immediately given to parents, Len Murray says. And he says he remained worried for all those inside.
“I’m scared for the other parents here. You can see the concern in everybody’s faces. Everybody is asking, ‘Have you hard from your child yet?'”
The FBI said it was on the scene and assisting local law enforcement. ATF agents from the Miami Field Division are also responding to the scene.
The White House said President Trump has been briefed on the shooting and is monitoring the situation. The White House said President Trump has been briefed on the shooting and is monitoring the situation. Mr. Trump expressed his condolences in a tweet Wednesday afternoon, adding that “no child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school.”
This is a developing story and will be updated.
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