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Florida School, on Edge Since Shooting, Requires Students to Carry Clear Backpacks

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Oct-12-18 2nd Article, "Florida school shooting: ‘It was like a war zone'"
Oct-12-18 3rd Article " "
Oct-12-18 3rd Article "Sheriff's Office Had Received About 20 Calls Regarding Suspect: The Latest on the Florida School Shooting "

Florida School, on Edge Since Shooting, Requires Students to Carry Clear Backpacks

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Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School at a gun control rally last week. Because of safety concerns, they will be allowed to carry only clear backpacks to school.CreditCreditSaul Martinez for The New York Times

MIAMI — The Florida high school where a gunman killed 17 people last month will require students to carry only clear backpacks, school administrators announced on Wednesday, after the shooting suspect’s brother was charged with trespassing on campus and two students were arrested on charges of carrying knives.

The episodes again called into question the safety of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, a little more than a month after the deadly shooting that shook the affluent suburban community of Parkland, about an hour north of Miami.

Robert W. Runcie, the superintendent of Broward County Public Schools, sent a letter to the families of Stoneman Douglas High students imposing the new backpack rule, reminiscent of security measures at airports and professional sports venues. He said any student without a clear backpack would be provided one at no cost after spring break, which takes place next week.

Students also will be issued identification badges, which they will be required to wear at all times while in school. Staff members have badges as well.

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In addition, Mr. Runcie said the district was considering using metal-detecting wands at school entrances and installing permanent metal detectors — a safety measure Mr. Runcie recently criticized as ineffective. A person intent on committing an atrocity would find his or her way around them, he said in an interview last month.

“Someone is not going to go through a metal detector with an AR-15,” he said at the time, adding that metal detectors do not help create a welcoming learning environment and pose a logistical challenge in a school as large as Stoneman Douglas High, which has more than 3,200 students.

Stoneman Douglas High parents, already on edge since the massacre, became alarmed Monday when the shooting suspect’s brother was arrested on a charge of trespassing, after Broward County sheriff’s deputies said they saw him skateboarding onto the campus after school let out. A deputy assigned to patrol the campus was found asleep by a student the same afternoon, the sheriff’s office said; he was suspended without pay.

Some parents kept their children home on Tuesday, according to Sarahnell Murphy, an assistant state attorney prosecuting the trespassing case against Zachary Cruz, the brother of the shooting suspect, Nikolas Cruz.

Also on Tuesday, the sheriff’s office said it had arrested three Stoneman Douglas High students, one for making threats on Snapchat and two for wielding knives. Jordan Salter, a girl accused of pulling a knife on a boy after a cafeteria confrontation, made a court appearance on Wednesday. Her father, Scott, told the court his daughter had been “terrified” of going to school.

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The arrests Monday and Tuesday prompted Gov. Rick Scott to offer state assistance to Mr. Runcie and the Broward sheriff, Scott Israel, to secure Stoneman Douglas High’s entryways. Sheriff Israel accepted the help; eight Florida Highway Patrol troopers will report to work at the school on Thursday, according to the governor’s office.

In his letter on Wednesday, Mr. Runcie also outlined other steps the district was taking across county schools, such as evaluating “code red” active-shooter protocols and drills, and upgrading surveillance camera systems. Schools with multiple entry points would have single points of entry by the first quarter of 2019, he said.

A new Florida law passed after the shooting will set aside $8.5 million for the school district to pay for at least one armed police officer at each school starting in the fall. Broward also will receive $6 million to expand school mental health services, according to Mr. Runcie.

Reacting on Twitter to the news that only clear backpacks would be allowed at school, Kyra Parrow, a senior at Stoneman Douglas High, criticized the move as “making my school seem like jail now because legislators don’t have common sense gun reform on their agendas.”

DMU Timestamp: September 17, 2018 17:21

Added October 12, 2018 at 2:04pm by Johnny Pernich
Title: 2nd Article, "Florida school shooting: ‘It was like a war zone'"

Florida school shooting: ‘It was like a war zone’

Shanti Viswanathan

Image captionShanti Viswanathan teaches algebra at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

Shanti Viswanathan, a US teacher of Indian origin, saved the lives of her students during the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, on 14 February. In her first media interview, an exclusive, she spoke to BBC Tamil's Aarthi Gnanasekaran about how that day unfolded.

It was around 2.15pm. Ms Viswanathan was half-way through her fourth period algebra class at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School when they heard gunshots.

"As soon as I heard the shots fired, I said drop everything, leave everything," Ms Viswanathan said.

She said students who were working on their laptops asked if they should put them away. "I said leave the laptops," she recalled. She told them to crouch or hide in corners so they wouldn't be visible from the small glass window in the centre of the classroom door.

"I might have said it was a drill because I wanted to reassure them. I didn't want anybody panicking," she added.

While some of them scrambled to hide under her desk, she locked the classroom door, covered the window with a sheet of paper and turned off the lights. And then they waited.

According to police reports, 19-year-old Nicholas Cruz arrived on school premises at 2.17pm in an Uber car. He entered the school wearing a gas mask and carrying a rifle, ammunition cartridges and smoke grenades. He then set off the fire alarm so students and teachers would leave the classrooms and pour into the corridors.

A general view of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Image captionThe gunman, a former student who was expelled, killed 17 people in six-and-half minutes

The first shots were at heard at 2.21pm when he fired into classrooms on the first floor. In the six-and-half minutes that followed, he shot dead 17 people - 15 students and two teachers.

Ms Viswanathan's classroom was on the second floor. "It was all quiet. I told them to stay silent," she said - she hoped the gunman would assume the classroom was empty.

She said she saw the door handle move - perhaps he tried opening the door. But he moved on.

She said it was purely "presence of mind" because she had never been trained for a scenario such as this.

No-one would have expected this, she added, because Parkland - a leafy city just an hour from Miami - had recently been declared one of the safest cities in the region.

'War zone'

Even when the police turned up to evacuate the classroom, Ms Viswanathan said she refused to unlock the door. Instead she asked them to get the key from school officials or break down the door - and they eventually did.

"It was like a war zone… blood on the stairs, in the hallways, blood in front of the building, bodies being dragged," she said. "I know a teacher who had to cross eight dead bodies before she was evacuated.

"Is this really the safe haven we had created for students to learn? Is this a place of learning or is this a place of death?"

Mr Cruz, a former student who had been recently expelled, was arrested at 3.41pm, a few miles from the school. He had left his weapons in a stairwell in the school building and then blended into the crowd of students as they exited with help from the police.

A young girl raises her hands with hundreds of others during the March for Our Lives rally on March 24, 2018 in Seattle. Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Image captionThe shooting in Parkland sparked protests across the US for tighter gun control

This was the sixth school shooting of 2018 in the US. And it was the worst since 2012, when gunman Adam Lanza attacked Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. He shot dead 20 young children and six adults before killing himself.

But the attack in Parkland ignited a youth-led anti-gun movement that has swept the US.

Within days, the #NeverAgain movement gathered support on social media and sparked countrywide protests for tighter gun control, with the students from Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School becoming its fiercest advocates.

Tears roll down the face of student Emma Gonzalez as she observes 6 minutes and 20 seconds of silence while addressing the March for Our Lives rally on March 24, 2018 in Washington, DC. Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Image captionEmma Gonzalez, 18, one of the survivors of the shooting, has become a prominent voice in the anti-gun movement

"I am so proud of our... children," said Ms Viswanathan. "All these kids have been our spokespeople, they have done such a wonderful job representing this whole movement."

'New-found respect'

What does she think of US President Donald Trump's proposal that arming teachers could prevent school shootings?

"A good guy with a gun can catch innocents in the crossfire, a good guy with a gun can still not stop a guy with an AR-15," she said.

Ms Viswanathan would not say what age of the students in her class were but she did say her relationship with them has changed.

"Right now, they have a new-found respect for me because we have been through something together."

But, she added, more than two months later, they are still anxious. "They keep looking at the door, they keep looking at the window, they are afraid to go the bathroom."

"There is no reason for a civilian to hold an assault rifle no matter what. This should be the last mass shooting to ever happen, we should not have any more mass shootings. Ever."

DMU Timestamp: September 17, 2018 17:21

Added October 12, 2018 at 2:09pm by Johnny Pernich
Title: 3rd Article " "

Sheriff's Office Had Received About 20 Calls Regarding Suspect: The Latest on the Florida School Shooting

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FLORIDA SCHOOL BUS CRASHES INTO SWIMMING POOL

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By LISA MARIE SEGARRA, KATIE REILLY, ELI MEIXLER, and JENNIFER CALFAS
Updated: February 18, 2018 1:51 PM ET | Originally published: February 14, 2018

The suspect in the Florida high school shooting that killed 17 has confessed, police said Thursday.

Nikolas Cruz, 19, told police he was responsible for the shooting and added that he hid extra ammunition in his backpack and shot students in the hallways and on school grounds, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said.

Israel also revealed Cruz’s bizarre movements in the hour after he allegedly opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, killing 17 and wounding others.

Cruz arrived at the school by taking an Uber car, took the rifle out of a case and began shooting in classrooms, Israel said. He then dropped the AR-15 assault rifle he used and his vest to blend in with students. Cruz then left the school and ran along with other students fleeing to blend in.

He then went to a Walmart, bought a drink in a Subway, left and then went to a McDonald’s. After walking out of the McDonald’s he was taken into police custody without incident.

The news comes after the FBI confirmed agents were warned five months ago about a YouTube comment that may have come from Cruz.

Parents wait for news after a reports of a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, 2018.

Parents wait for news after a reports of a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, 2018.
Joel Auerbach—AP

“In 2017, the FBI received information about a comment made on a YouTube channel. The comment simply said, ‘I’m going to be a professional school shooter.’ No other information was included with that comment which would indicate a time, location or the true identity of the person who made the comment. The FBI conducted database reviews, checks, but was unable to further identify the person who actually made the comment,” FBI Special Agent Rob Lasky said during a press conference.

The username on the comment was “nikolas cruz.”

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel also said that over the past few years his office had received about 20 calls for service regarding Cruz and his younger brother, and that each one would be “looked at and scrutinized.”

Cruz is charged with murdering 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Wednesday. He was arrested by authorities when he fled the scene.

The details of Cruz’s online comments came as former classmates, teachers and neighbors have said they long feared Cruz may have been capable of violence. Cruz, a former student at the school, was expelled last year for disciplinary reasons.

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting is the 6th school shooting resulting in injuries this year. There have been 17 incidents of gunfire in schools this year, according to gun control group Everytown USA. It is also the deadliest school shooting since the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, which claimed the lives of 20 children and six adults.

“This is a terrible day for Parkland, Broward County, the state of Florida and the United States,” Broward Sheriff Scott Israel said at a press conference Wednesday. “It’s just catastrophic. There really are no words.”

Videos and photos posted by students on social media painted a gruesome picture of the shooting, showing blood spilled on the floor of classrooms and bullet holes in the screens of laptops. Text messages shared between students and their family members shared on social media showed teenagers saying goodbye.

Authorities said the gunman used an AR-15 rifle, a semi-automatic weapon made for military use and seen in other mass shootings, including the 2016 Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando. Florida Sen. Bill Nelson told CNN the suspect also wore a mask and carried smoke grenades during the attack.

“This is just pure evil,” Florida Governor Rick Scott told reporters at a press conference Wednesday evening, where he also pledged “whatever state resources are necessary” to law enforcement or “to help any family member who’s impacted.”

“How could this ever happen in this country? How could this happen in this state?” Scott said, adding that his “prayers are with everybody impacted.”

Florida Gov. Rick Scott said he will visit shooting victims at the hospital tonight.

"This is just absolutely pure evil. This state does not tolerate violence. We have law enforcement that will always show up to defend our safety." https://t.co/7sxJmpfRdo https://t.co/1SVi4YjkRD

— CNN (@CNN) February 15, 2018

Here’s what we know about the shooting so far:

17 people were killed

At least 17 people were killed in the shooting on Wednesday, with 12 slain inside the school, according to Sheriff Israel.

Three other victims were shot outside the building and on a nearby street corner, and an additional two victims died at nearby hospitals. Sheriff Israel told CBS and other media that a football coach was among the victims, and added that the son of a deputy sheriff was also shot. According to Israel, five of the 17 victims had still not been identified at 9:30 p.m ET.

"I'm saddened to say that 17 people lost their lives."- Sheriff Scott Israel #stonemanshooting

— Broward Sheriff (@browardsheriff) February 14, 2018

Sixteen victims are being treated at local hospitals, according to the OrlandoSentinel, including seven victims at Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale. Of those seven, two were in critical condition and five were stable, a doctor told local reporters. Another another nine victims were taken to Broward Health North Medical Center, of whom three were in critical condition.

A doctor at Broward Health North declined to give information about specific patients’ cases, but predicted a positive outcome. “They’re going to have successful surgeries. They’re going to recover. They’re going to go home,” Igor Nichiporenko told reporters.

Another victim was taken to Broward Health Coral Springs, according to the Palm Beach Post.

Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie described the shooting as an “unspeakable tragedy” representing “the worst of humanity,” adding in a statement that the school district was cooperating with law enforcement agencies. “No parent should ever have to send their kids to school and have them not return,” Runcie told reporters. “We’ve got to find a way for this to stop.”

Robert Runcie, superintendent for Broward County Public Schools: "No parent should ever have to send their kids to school and have them not return. … We've got to find a way for this to stop." https://t.co/rWeNhwf3Gfhttps://t.co/ngRJbwKpDR

— CNN (@CNN) February 15, 2018

Superintendent Robert W. Runcie shares a message regarding today’s tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. @RobertWRuncie says “There are no words to express the sorrow that we are all feeling.” Read the full message: https://t.co/1ETFwGw5Gl

— Broward Schools (@browardschools) February 15, 2018

Marjory Stoneman will remain closed for the rest of the week, the Broward County Sheriff’s Department announced. Nearby Westglades Middle School will remain open, and grief counselors will be stationed at a number of nearby locations for students, family members, and school faculty and staff.

The suspect has been identified as Nikolas Cruz

The sheriff’s office identified the suspected shooter as 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, who was charged Wednesday with 17 counts of premeditated murder. He later confessed to the shooting while in custody, police said.

The suspect had previously attended the school but was expelled for disciplinary reasons, officials said.

Cruz is an orphaned teenager who moved in with a friend’s family after his mother died in November 2017, James Lewis, an attorney for that family, told the AP. While living there, he attended an adult correctional school and worked at a local dollar store.

Students at the school described Cruz as an “outcast” and a “loner” in interviews following the incident. Some said Cruz would talk about his “guns, knives and hunting,” and that “everyone predicted” he would turn into a school shooter.

During the incident, The school was initially placed on lockdown, but started dismissing students as a SWAT team worked on clearing the buildings. Broadcast news footage showed students running from the school building with their hands up.

If anyone is feeling overwhelmed, they can dial 211 24/7. We are here for them. Thoughts for everyone affected. https://t.co/DWsGgV4htN

— 211 Broward (@211Broward) February 14, 2018

The @FBI has set up a website where you can upload images and video of the #stonemanshooting. Visit https://t.co/7k6vAb5Csa to submit any information you have on the shooting that occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

— Broward Sheriff (@browardsheriff) February 15, 2018

The FBI said it is working with local law enforcement, and set up a tips page for information or for witnesses to upload photos or videos related to the incident.

The gunman used an AR-15 assault rifle and carried smoke grenades

Israel said that Cruz had one AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle and “multiple magazines” with him. Gunmen in past mass shootings, including Newtown, the 2017 shooting on the Las Vegas strip and the 2016 Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando have used similar style rifles.

Cruz was also wearing a gas mask and equipped with smoke grenades, which he used to set off a fire alarm “so kids would come pouring out of classrooms and into the hall,” Florida Sen. Bill Nelson told CNN. “And there the carnage began.”

Sandy Hook, Pulse nightclub, Ft. Lauderdale airport, Las Vegas and now Parkland, Florida – when is this going to stop? It’s not going to stop until the American people say: enough is enough! What is it going to take for enough to be enough? pic.twitter.com/SVJzvlJzsR

— Senator Bill Nelson (@SenBillNelson) February 15, 2018

Leaders respond: ‘That terrible day you pray never comes’

President Trump spoke with Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who said he will continue receiving updates on the investigation from law enforcement. In a tweet, Trump offered condolences to family members of the victims and 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

On the other side of the world at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, American figure skating duo Alexa Scimeca-Knierim and Chris Knierim dedicated their pairs skating program to the victims of the shooting. “We wanted to skate for the 17 children that died in the Florida shooting,” Scimeca-Knierim said in an interview after their performance.

May the hearts of those who are mourning the loss of victims in the shooting today be lifted up. You are on my mind and on my heart. God bless you all.

— Alexa ScimecaKnierim (@alexa_knierim) February 15, 2018

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said he was “devastated” and “saddened” by the deadly shooting, which he called a “clear attack…designed [and] executed to maximize loss of life.” Rubio also said in his statement Wednesday that he hopes authorities can find out in coming hours and days more about how and why the killer carried out the attack. “Today is that terrible day you pray never comes,” Rubio said.

Just finished update from fed authorities on #FloridaSchoolShooting. It is clear attack was designed & executed to maximize loss of life

— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) February 15, 2018

Meanwhile, Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy — who has become a vocal advocate for gun control legislation in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in his state — responded to the “horrific scene” while speaking on the Senate floor.

“This happens no where else other than the United States of America, this epidemic of mass slaughter, this scourge of school shooting after school shooting,” he said. “It only happens here — not because of coincidence, not because of bad luck, but as a consequence of our inaction. We are responsible for a level of mass atrocity that happens in this country with zero parallel anywhere else.”

Sen. @ChrisMurphyCT on Parkland, Florida School Shooting: "This happens nowhere else other than the United States of America, this epidemic of mass slaughter, this scourge of school shooting after school shooting." pic.twitter.com/bgIrYzrDRl

— CSPAN (@cspan) February 14, 2018

Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords said the shooting should “strike fear into all Americans,” while calling on Congress to enact stricter gun control legislation. “Is it safe to send our kids to school? Are we safe in our homes and communities?” the former Congresswoman, who survived a shooting in 2011 wrote on Twitter.

Every day we fail to take action, we chose this fate. We tolerate politicians who fail to acknowledge this crisis and vote against our safety. We let our gun violence epidemic continue day after deadly day.

— Gabrielle Giffords (@GabbyGiffords) February 15, 2018

The question now is if we will find the courage to pass the laws we need to protect our children, to stop dangerous people from accessing guns. And if Congress won't act, American voters must.

— Gabrielle Giffords (@GabbyGiffords) February 15, 2018

Florida Congresswoman and former Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz said the victims of the shooting “are weighing heavy in my heart” while praising first responders. “This senseless violence must end,” she wrote.

I am closely monitoring the developing situation at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County. The victims are weighing heavy in my heart as is the courage of the first responders on the scene. This senseless violence must end.

— Debbie Wasserman Schultz (@DWStweets) February 14, 2018

Students and teachers described ‘the worst nightmare’

“This is the worst nightmare that you hope never happens to you,” Melissa Falkowski, a teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas who hid 19 students in a classroom closet during the shooting told CNN on Wednesday. “We could not have been more prepared for this situation, which is what makes it so frustrating,” Falkowski said, adding that she felt “like our government, our country has failed us and failed our kids and didn’t keep us safe.”

Senior David Hogg said he heard a fire alarm, the second of the school day, and saw a “flood of people” running toward him, according to the Orlando Sentinel. A TV production student, Hogg pulled out a video camera to record himself and a group of other students who sought safety in culinary instructor Ashley Kurth’s classroom. “It’s horrifying,” Hogg said. “My sister talked to people yesterday that she’ll never talk to again.”

Other students at the high school shared information about what had happened, some while they were still hiding inside the school.

https://twitter.com/morganw_44/status/963929436239298562

oh god im in a closet at marjory stoneman douglas hs

— lauren snow (@rensnowx) February 14, 2018

My little brother just sent me this video of the swat team evacuating his classroom at stoneman douglas. So scary but glad he's safe. @nbc6@CBSMiami @NBCNews @wsvn @CBSNews pic.twitter.com/XNTtra221q

— Melody (@Melody_Ball) February 14, 2018

After being evacuated, students hugged each other once they were reunited with their friends outside of the high school where 17 people were killed by a gunman. pic.twitter.com/1expSO1vLa

— Aric Chokey (@aric_chokey) February 15, 2018

Survivors of the shooting demand gun control

The teenagers who survived the shooting at their school have called on the nation’s leaders to immediately work to enact stricter gun control laws to prevent another massacre from occurring in the United States.

In the days after surviving the horrific event, students participated in a protest demanding gun control and more than 100 of them are planning on visiting the state capital in Tallahassee to speak with state lawmakers. On Sunday, students announced their upcoming “March for Our Lives” in Washington, D.C., and at other cities around the country on March 24.

“My message for the people in office is this: You’re either with us or against us,” Cameron Kasky, a junior at the high school, told CNN. “We are losing our lives while the adults are playing around.”

Students like Emma Gonzalez, who gave an impassioned speech Saturday that made waves around the country, have criticized politicians like President Donald Trump, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Florida Gov. Rick Scott for accepting donations from the National Rifle Association. Part of the upcoming march, the students have said, is to raise awareness about the lawmakers who have received donations from the NRA and hold them accountable for the mass shootings in the U.S.

DMU Timestamp: September 17, 2018 17:21

Added October 12, 2018 at 2:09pm by Johnny Pernich
Title: 3rd Article "Sheriff's Office Had Received About 20 Calls Regarding Suspect: The Latest on the Florida School Shooting "

Sheriff's Office Had Received About 20 Calls Regarding Suspect: The Latest on the Florida School Shooting

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FLORIDA SCHOOL BUS CRASHES INTO SWIMMING POOL

×
By LISA MARIE SEGARRA, KATIE REILLY, ELI MEIXLER, and JENNIFER CALFAS
Updated: February 18, 2018 1:51 PM ET | Originally published: February 14, 2018

The suspect in the Florida high school shooting that killed 17 has confessed, police said Thursday.

Nikolas Cruz, 19, told police he was responsible for the shooting and added that he hid extra ammunition in his backpack and shot students in the hallways and on school grounds, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said.

Israel also revealed Cruz’s bizarre movements in the hour after he allegedly opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, killing 17 and wounding others.

Cruz arrived at the school by taking an Uber car, took the rifle out of a case and began shooting in classrooms, Israel said. He then dropped the AR-15 assault rifle he used and his vest to blend in with students. Cruz then left the school and ran along with other students fleeing to blend in.

He then went to a Walmart, bought a drink in a Subway, left and then went to a McDonald’s. After walking out of the McDonald’s he was taken into police custody without incident.

The news comes after the FBI confirmed agents were warned five months ago about a YouTube comment that may have come from Cruz.

Parents wait for news after a reports of a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, 2018.

Parents wait for news after a reports of a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, 2018.
Joel Auerbach—AP

“In 2017, the FBI received information about a comment made on a YouTube channel. The comment simply said, ‘I’m going to be a professional school shooter.’ No other information was included with that comment which would indicate a time, location or the true identity of the person who made the comment. The FBI conducted database reviews, checks, but was unable to further identify the person who actually made the comment,” FBI Special Agent Rob Lasky said during a press conference.

The username on the comment was “nikolas cruz.”

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel also said that over the past few years his office had received about 20 calls for service regarding Cruz and his younger brother, and that each one would be “looked at and scrutinized.”

Cruz is charged with murdering 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Wednesday. He was arrested by authorities when he fled the scene.

The details of Cruz’s online comments came as former classmates, teachers and neighbors have said they long feared Cruz may have been capable of violence. Cruz, a former student at the school, was expelled last year for disciplinary reasons.

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting is the 6th school shooting resulting in injuries this year. There have been 17 incidents of gunfire in schools this year, according to gun control group Everytown USA. It is also the deadliest school shooting since the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, which claimed the lives of 20 children and six adults.

“This is a terrible day for Parkland, Broward County, the state of Florida and the United States,” Broward Sheriff Scott Israel said at a press conference Wednesday. “It’s just catastrophic. There really are no words.”

Videos and photos posted by students on social media painted a gruesome picture of the shooting, showing blood spilled on the floor of classrooms and bullet holes in the screens of laptops. Text messages shared between students and their family members shared on social media showed teenagers saying goodbye.

Authorities said the gunman used an AR-15 rifle, a semi-automatic weapon made for military use and seen in other mass shootings, including the 2016 Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando. Florida Sen. Bill Nelson told CNN the suspect also wore a mask and carried smoke grenades during the attack.

“This is just pure evil,” Florida Governor Rick Scott told reporters at a press conference Wednesday evening, where he also pledged “whatever state resources are necessary” to law enforcement or “to help any family member who’s impacted.”

“How could this ever happen in this country? How could this happen in this state?” Scott said, adding that his “prayers are with everybody impacted.”

Florida Gov. Rick Scott said he will visit shooting victims at the hospital tonight.

"This is just absolutely pure evil. This state does not tolerate violence. We have law enforcement that will always show up to defend our safety." https://t.co/7sxJmpfRdo https://t.co/1SVi4YjkRD

— CNN (@CNN) February 15, 2018

Here’s what we know about the shooting so far:

17 people were killed

At least 17 people were killed in the shooting on Wednesday, with 12 slain inside the school, according to Sheriff Israel.

Three other victims were shot outside the building and on a nearby street corner, and an additional two victims died at nearby hospitals. Sheriff Israel told CBS and other media that a football coach was among the victims, and added that the son of a deputy sheriff was also shot. According to Israel, five of the 17 victims had still not been identified at 9:30 p.m ET.

"I'm saddened to say that 17 people lost their lives."- Sheriff Scott Israel #stonemanshooting

— Broward Sheriff (@browardsheriff) February 14, 2018

Sixteen victims are being treated at local hospitals, according to the OrlandoSentinel, including seven victims at Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale. Of those seven, two were in critical condition and five were stable, a doctor told local reporters. Another another nine victims were taken to Broward Health North Medical Center, of whom three were in critical condition.

A doctor at Broward Health North declined to give information about specific patients’ cases, but predicted a positive outcome. “They’re going to have successful surgeries. They’re going to recover. They’re going to go home,” Igor Nichiporenko told reporters.

Another victim was taken to Broward Health Coral Springs, according to the Palm Beach Post.

Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie described the shooting as an “unspeakable tragedy” representing “the worst of humanity,” adding in a statement that the school district was cooperating with law enforcement agencies. “No parent should ever have to send their kids to school and have them not return,” Runcie told reporters. “We’ve got to find a way for this to stop.”

Robert Runcie, superintendent for Broward County Public Schools: "No parent should ever have to send their kids to school and have them not return. … We've got to find a way for this to stop." https://t.co/rWeNhwf3Gfhttps://t.co/ngRJbwKpDR

— CNN (@CNN) February 15, 2018

Superintendent Robert W. Runcie shares a message regarding today’s tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. @RobertWRuncie says “There are no words to express the sorrow that we are all feeling.” Read the full message: https://t.co/1ETFwGw5Gl

— Broward Schools (@browardschools) February 15, 2018

Marjory Stoneman will remain closed for the rest of the week, the Broward County Sheriff’s Department announced. Nearby Westglades Middle School will remain open, and grief counselors will be stationed at a number of nearby locations for students, family members, and school faculty and staff.

The suspect has been identified as Nikolas Cruz

The sheriff’s office identified the suspected shooter as 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, who was charged Wednesday with 17 counts of premeditated murder. He later confessed to the shooting while in custody, police said.

The suspect had previously attended the school but was expelled for disciplinary reasons, officials said.

Cruz is an orphaned teenager who moved in with a friend’s family after his mother died in November 2017, James Lewis, an attorney for that family, told the AP. While living there, he attended an adult correctional school and worked at a local dollar store.

Students at the school described Cruz as an “outcast” and a “loner” in interviews following the incident. Some said Cruz would talk about his “guns, knives and hunting,” and that “everyone predicted” he would turn into a school shooter.

During the incident, The school was initially placed on lockdown, but started dismissing students as a SWAT team worked on clearing the buildings. Broadcast news footage showed students running from the school building with their hands up.

If anyone is feeling overwhelmed, they can dial 211 24/7. We are here for them. Thoughts for everyone affected. https://t.co/DWsGgV4htN

— 211 Broward (@211Broward) February 14, 2018

The @FBI has set up a website where you can upload images and video of the #stonemanshooting. Visit https://t.co/7k6vAb5Csa to submit any information you have on the shooting that occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

— Broward Sheriff (@browardsheriff) February 15, 2018

The FBI said it is working with local law enforcement, and set up a tips page for information or for witnesses to upload photos or videos related to the incident.

The gunman used an AR-15 assault rifle and carried smoke grenades

Israel said that Cruz had one AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle and “multiple magazines” with him. Gunmen in past mass shootings, including Newtown, the 2017 shooting on the Las Vegas strip and the 2016 Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando have used similar style rifles.

Cruz was also wearing a gas mask and equipped with smoke grenades, which he used to set off a fire alarm “so kids would come pouring out of classrooms and into the hall,” Florida Sen. Bill Nelson told CNN. “And there the carnage began.”

Sandy Hook, Pulse nightclub, Ft. Lauderdale airport, Las Vegas and now Parkland, Florida – when is this going to stop? It’s not going to stop until the American people say: enough is enough! What is it going to take for enough to be enough? pic.twitter.com/SVJzvlJzsR

— Senator Bill Nelson (@SenBillNelson) February 15, 2018

Leaders respond: ‘That terrible day you pray never comes’

President Trump spoke with Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who said he will continue receiving updates on the investigation from law enforcement. In a tweet, Trump offered condolences to family members of the victims and 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

On the other side of the world at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, American figure skating duo Alexa Scimeca-Knierim and Chris Knierim dedicated their pairs skating program to the victims of the shooting. “We wanted to skate for the 17 children that died in the Florida shooting,” Scimeca-Knierim said in an interview after their performance.

May the hearts of those who are mourning the loss of victims in the shooting today be lifted up. You are on my mind and on my heart. God bless you all.

— Alexa ScimecaKnierim (@alexa_knierim) February 15, 2018

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said he was “devastated” and “saddened” by the deadly shooting, which he called a “clear attack…designed [and] executed to maximize loss of life.” Rubio also said in his statement Wednesday that he hopes authorities can find out in coming hours and days more about how and why the killer carried out the attack. “Today is that terrible day you pray never comes,” Rubio said.

Just finished update from fed authorities on #FloridaSchoolShooting. It is clear attack was designed & executed to maximize loss of life

— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) February 15, 2018

Meanwhile, Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy — who has become a vocal advocate for gun control legislation in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in his state — responded to the “horrific scene” while speaking on the Senate floor.

“This happens no where else other than the United States of America, this epidemic of mass slaughter, this scourge of school shooting after school shooting,” he said. “It only happens here — not because of coincidence, not because of bad luck, but as a consequence of our inaction. We are responsible for a level of mass atrocity that happens in this country with zero parallel anywhere else.”

Sen. @ChrisMurphyCT on Parkland, Florida School Shooting: "This happens nowhere else other than the United States of America, this epidemic of mass slaughter, this scourge of school shooting after school shooting." pic.twitter.com/bgIrYzrDRl

— CSPAN (@cspan) February 14, 2018

Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords said the shooting should “strike fear into all Americans,” while calling on Congress to enact stricter gun control legislation. “Is it safe to send our kids to school? Are we safe in our homes and communities?” the former Congresswoman, who survived a shooting in 2011 wrote on Twitter.

Every day we fail to take action, we chose this fate. We tolerate politicians who fail to acknowledge this crisis and vote against our safety. We let our gun violence epidemic continue day after deadly day.

— Gabrielle Giffords (@GabbyGiffords) February 15, 2018

The question now is if we will find the courage to pass the laws we need to protect our children, to stop dangerous people from accessing guns. And if Congress won't act, American voters must.

— Gabrielle Giffords (@GabbyGiffords) February 15, 2018

Florida Congresswoman and former Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz said the victims of the shooting “are weighing heavy in my heart” while praising first responders. “This senseless violence must end,” she wrote.

I am closely monitoring the developing situation at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County. The victims are weighing heavy in my heart as is the courage of the first responders on the scene. This senseless violence must end.

— Debbie Wasserman Schultz (@DWStweets) February 14, 2018

Students and teachers described ‘the worst nightmare’

“This is the worst nightmare that you hope never happens to you,” Melissa Falkowski, a teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas who hid 19 students in a classroom closet during the shooting told CNN on Wednesday. “We could not have been more prepared for this situation, which is what makes it so frustrating,” Falkowski said, adding that she felt “like our government, our country has failed us and failed our kids and didn’t keep us safe.”

Senior David Hogg said he heard a fire alarm, the second of the school day, and saw a “flood of people” running toward him, according to the Orlando Sentinel. A TV production student, Hogg pulled out a video camera to record himself and a group of other students who sought safety in culinary instructor Ashley Kurth’s classroom. “It’s horrifying,” Hogg said. “My sister talked to people yesterday that she’ll never talk to again.”

Other students at the high school shared information about what had happened, some while they were still hiding inside the school.

https://twitter.com/morganw_44/status/963929436239298562

oh god im in a closet at marjory stoneman douglas hs

— lauren snow (@rensnowx) February 14, 2018

My little brother just sent me this video of the swat team evacuating his classroom at stoneman douglas. So scary but glad he's safe. @nbc6@CBSMiami @NBCNews @wsvn @CBSNews pic.twitter.com/XNTtra221q

— Melody (@Melody_Ball) February 14, 2018

After being evacuated, students hugged each other once they were reunited with their friends outside of the high school where 17 people were killed by a gunman. pic.twitter.com/1expSO1vLa

— Aric Chokey (@aric_chokey) February 15, 2018

Survivors of the shooting demand gun control

The teenagers who survived the shooting at their school have called on the nation’s leaders to immediately work to enact stricter gun control laws to prevent another massacre from occurring in the United States.

In the days after surviving the horrific event, students participated in a protest demanding gun control and more than 100 of them are planning on visiting the state capital in Tallahassee to speak with state lawmakers. On Sunday, students announced their upcoming “March for Our Lives” in Washington, D.C., and at other cities around the country on March 24.

“My message for the people in office is this: You’re either with us or against us,” Cameron Kasky, a junior at the high school, told CNN. “We are losing our lives while the adults are playing around.”

Students like Emma Gonzalez, who gave an impassioned speech Saturday that made waves around the country, have criticized politicians like President Donald Trump, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Florida Gov. Rick Scott for accepting donations from the National Rifle Association. Part of the upcoming march, the students have said, is to raise awareness about the lawmakers who have received donations from the NRA and hold them accountable for the mass shootings in the U.S.

DMU Timestamp: September 17, 2018 17:21