17 dead; suspect in Florida high school mass shooting arrested

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The Florida mass shooting suspect has been identified as Nikolas Cruz according to a US Official who told the Associated Press.

There are 17 victims according to Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel in a press conference called at 6:30 p.m. About 12 people lost their lives inside  Marjory Stoneman Douglas school, he said.  

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The suspect was a former student at the school who was expelled for disciplinary reasons according to authorities.

The suspect was arrested a mile from the high school at about 4 p.m. EST, where shooting began in one of the classrooms more than an hour earlier. Investigators believe there was only one shooter.

"I believe he is possibly 18 years old," said Israel. "There was no confrontation when he was arrested. There are multiple fatalities. We know 14 people were transported to area hospitals with varying degrees of wounds."

The suspect was transported to North Broward Hospital after being arrested nearby in the Wyndham Lake community. It is unclear if he was injured.

Multiple SWAT teams cleared the large campus looking for additional suspects or victims. Evacuated students were being brought to a nearby Marriott hotel to be reunited with their parents.

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Florida) told FOX News' Peter Doocy that there have been "many deaths" from the shooting.

The suspect in custody was allegedly involved in a YouTube chatroom about bombs, according to Trace Gallagher of FOX News.  There is no evidence there were any bombs used in the attack or may remain on campus, but police are scouring the scene looking for explosive devices. 

Gallagher reports that on his Facebook page he left the photo blank. On Instagram his profile suggested that he was fascinated by guns and also followed Syrian resistance groups. 

"My prayers and heartfelt sorrow goes out to the families," said Broward Counties Supt. Robert Runcie. "There are numerous fatalities, it is a horrific situation. It is a horrible day for us."

The Broward County Sheriff's Office tweeted Wednesday afternoon that "so far we have at least 14 victims." The tweet added: "Victims have been and continue to be transported to Broward Health Medical Center and Broward Health North hospital."  The sheriff's statement didn't elaborate on the victims or their injuries. 

The shooter opened fire at a Florida high school Wednesday, killing "numerous" people, sending students running out into the streets and SWAT team members swarming in.


Frantic parents rushed to the scene and ambulances converged in front of the school. Live footage showed emergency workers appearing to treat possibly wounded people on the sidewalks. 
The Broward County Sheriff's Office tweeted Wednesday afternoon that "so far we have at least 14 victims." The tweet added: "Victims have been and continue to be transported to Broward Health Medical Center and Broward Health North hospital."

Len Murray's 17-year-old son, a junior at the school, sent his parents a chilling text around 2:30 pm: "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."
A few minutes later, he texted again: "I'm fine."
Television footage showed police in olive fatigues, with weapons drawn, entering the school, then dozens of children frantically running and walking quickly out. A police officer waved the students on, urging them to quickly evacuate. 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. 
The Broward Schools department said on its website that students and staff heard what sounded like gunfire and the school immediately went on lockdown. 
Murray said he raced to the school only to be stopped by authorities under a highway overpass within view of the school buildings. He said he told his son to save his battery and stop texting, while the boy's mother told him to turn off his ringer.
No information has been provided yet to parents, he said. "I'm scared for the other parents here. You can see the concern in everybody's faces. Everybody is asking, `Have you heard from your child yet?"' Murray said.
Murray said he's had just one thought running through his mind since he got his son's text: "All I keep thinking about is when I dropped him off this morning - I usually say, `I love you,' and I didn't think morning. He's 17, he's at that age, and I didn't say it this morning, and I'm just kicking myself right now over and over and over. Say it early and often, I'm telling you."
The high school is a sprawling complex set on a tract in the South Florida community of Parkland, about 45 miles (70 kilometers) north of downtown Miami. 
 The school had just over 3,100 students in the 2016-2017 academic year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Major streets run along two sides and an expressway passes nearby on the other not far from a residential neighborhood of single family homes.