PARKLAND, Fla. (CBS NEWS/AP) – A sheriff says 17 people have died in the shooting attack on a South Florida high school.
Sheriff Scott Israel of Broward County says the 19-year-old suspect is in custody and that investigators are beginning to “dissect” what happened in the attack Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
He says the suspect, a former student, was previously expelled for disciplinary reasons.
Israel says the man had at least one rifle and multiple magazines.
He says most of the fatalities were inside the building though some were found fatally shot outside
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.
Student Jeiella Dodoo told CBS News a fire alarm went off around 2:30 p.m. She said the school already had a drill earlier in the day.
Then, she said she heard about six gunshots. Everyone ran, and 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 said.
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.
Officers asked people to avoid the area. The Coral Springs Police Department told teachers and students to remain barricaded inside until police reach them.
CBS Miami’s Rick Folbaum was speaking over text message with a student at the school who is hiding in a closet.
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.”
“All of a sudden there was a really loud noise…..people are crying the closet,” the student wrote to him.
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.
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?'”
This is a developing story and will be updated.
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