'There really are no words' - 17 dead in Florida school shooting
- Suspect in custody and identified as 19-year-old former student
- TV footage showed students filing out of school under police guidance
- Sheriff tells media: 'There are no words'
- Shooting marks 18th school shooting in US so far this year
- Students and adults among those killed
A former student at a Florida high school opened fire in the school on Wednesday, leaving 17 dead before he was arrested by police, authorities said.
The Broward County Sheriff's Department there were 17 people killed in the shooting.
Twelve of the dead were killed inside the school building, two others just outside, one more on the street and two other victims died of their injuries at a hospital, Israel said. He said the victims comprised a mixture of students and adults.
The violence erupted shortly before dismissal at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, about 72 km north of Miami. Live television footage showed students streaming out of the building as dozens of police and emergency services personnel swarmed the area.
The suspected shooter has been identified as 19-year-old former student Nikolas Cruz. He surrendered to police in the aftermath of the shooting without a struggle.
"It's catastrophic," Sheriff Scott Israel. "There really are no words."
The sheriff said the gunman had at least one rifle and multiple magazines
Today we experiencing the worst of humanity as an unspeakable tragedy has hit our @browardschools family at Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS. There has been a shooting on campus with injuries and fatalities. We are working with law enforcement as we pray for our babies and families.— Supt Runcie (@RobertwRuncie) February 14, 2018
The suspect was expelled from the school due to disciplinary reasons but it was not clear if he was a student at another school at the time of the shooting the sheriff said.
US President Donald Trump was briefed on the shooting and expressed his condolences to those affected.
In a tweet he said "no child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school"
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.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 14, 2018
Just spoke to Governor Rick Scott. We are working closely with law enforcement on the terrible Florida school shooting.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 14, 2018
The shooting marks the 18th shooting in a US school so far this year, according to gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety. That tally includes suicides and incidents when no one was injured, as well as the January incident when a 15-year-old gunman killed two students at a Benton, Kentucky, high school.
More than five years have passed since a gunman killed 20 first graders and six educators in Newtown, Connecticut, stirring the long US debate about gun rights, which are protected by the Second Amendment of the US Constitution.
SCENES OF FEAR
Staff and students told local media that a fire alarm went off around the time the shooting started, sparking chaos as some 3,000 students at the school first headed into hallways before teachers herded them back into classrooms, to seek shelter in closets.
Kyle Yeoward, a 16-year-old junior, told Reuters he was in the bathroom on the second floor of the building on the campus where most of the shooting took place, when he heard two shots.
"He let loose on the freshman building," Yeoward said
McKenzie Hartley, 19, who identified herself as the sister of a student at the school described the scene in a text message to Reuters: "She heard him shooting through the windows of classrooms and two students were shot."
Panicked parents checked on their children.
"It is just absolutely horrifying. I can't believe this is happening," Lissette Rozenblat, whose daughter goes to the school, told CNN. Her daughter called her to say she was safe but the student also told her mother she heard the cries of a person who was shot.
"She was very nervous. She said that she could hear the person who was shot crying out for help," she said.
Televised images showed dozens of students, their arms in the air, weaving their way between law enforcement officers with heavy weapons and helmets, and large numbers of emergency vehicles including police cars, ambulances and fire trucks.
The school had recently held a meeting to discuss what to do in such an attack, Ryan Gott, a 15-year-old freshman told CNN.
"My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting," U.S. President Donald Trump said on Twitter. "No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school."