Late in the afternoon on Wednesday, shortly before students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, were to be dismissed, a 19-year-old former student walked in and killed 17 people and injured at least 14 more.
The suspect, identified as Nicolas de Jesus Cruz, was taken into custody without incident by police about an hour after the shooting, which reportedly lasted for an hour with Cruz going “outside and inside” the school, according to the local sheriff.
Students hunkered down in classrooms and many used social media to document the horrifying incident (language warning):
Several details about the shooter were reported by Daily Mail:
- Cruz was armed with at least one AR-15 rifle and had 'multiple magazines' when he stormed the school
- The teenager had been expelled from the school last year for unknown 'disciplinary reasons'
- Traumatized students said that once they heard reports of a mass shooting at the school they knew it would be Cruz, while one teacher said he had been identified as a potential threat to his classmates last year
- A student who claims to know Cruz said the suspected gunman was a 'troubled kid' and obsessed with guns
Fox News reported that Cruz’s Facebook page showed he followed several resistance groups, such as Syrian Resistance and other Iraqi fighter groups. It was also reported that Cruz was involved in a recent YouTube chat room talking about building bombs.
A math teacher at the high school, Jim Gard, told the Miami Herald that Cruz was in his class last year and that he wasn’t allowed to have a backpack on campus. Cruz was later expelled.
Classmates of Cruz said they long suspected that if a gunman ever entered their school, it would be him. Unfortunately, they were right.
President Trump issued the following message on Twitter: