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PARKLAND (CBSMiami) — Investigators are trying to figure out what led a gunman to open fire at a Parkland high school, killing 17 people.
Deputies confirmed 17 people have died and 14 people were injured in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Broward Sheriff Scott Israel said 12 people died inside the school, 2 died outside of the school, 1 person died on the corner near the school and 2 people died at hospital.
The suspected shooter, identified as Nikolas Cruz, 19, is in custody.
Cruz, a former student who was expelled last year, used an AR-15 rifle and had multiple magazines on him, according to BSO.
Broward Sheriff Scott Israel said earlier in the day he was not sure why Cruz was kicked out of the school.
Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) said the shooter had a gas mask on, pulled the fire alarm then used smoke grenades as students ran out. As for where the suspected gunman might have gotten the weapons, Nelson said “I have no idea.”
A student who knows Cruz said nobody in the school would pick on him.
“He always had guns on him and stuff like that,” said a student who knew Cruz. “He was a little bit of a troubled kid.”
Israel made a point to mention that people who know something is not right or see something that shouldn’t be have a responsibility to do the right thing.
“If you are on a website and you know something or you’ve seen something, you see a person with rifles and weaponry, and you see something that’s not right, you owe it to your family, you owe it to your community and you owe it to law enforcement to make this a safer nation by calling up someone tonight,” Israel said. “Call up the FBI, call up the Broward Sheriff’s Office, call up someone tonight and let them know that you have information that something’s not right. You can prevent a major tragedy like this devastation that happened in Parkland tonight.”
Another student, who was in the thick of the gunfire said, “It was really traumatic to watch. A lot people were bleeding out and there was blood everywhere,” she said. “It’s hitting me but it’s still shocking to me. There’s a video with gunshots and the person next to me took that and with all the social media and it’s so crazy how I was so close to that and I’m so grateful to be living right now.”
Investigators and crime scene technicians are working into the night, combing through evidence at the school. What looked like gunshots could be seen in one of the school’s windows.
Earlier in the evening, medical examiners were walking through the building, presumably examining the bodies, said Broward Mayor Beam Furr, who was a teacher for 25 years. Furr has two sons who graduated from the school and a daughter, who is currently a senior. She was not hurt.
Officers arrested Cruz around 4 p.m., in a community near the school located at 11735 NW 47th Drive. Police later rushed him to Broward Health North hospital with a police escort. Israel said Cruz did not have significant injuries. He has since been taken to BSO headquarters.
The father of a student at the school says the suspected shooter was allegedly “wearing a black vest with a red shirt…and supposedly he pulled the fire alarm and planned it,” according to CBS This Morning.
The school was placed on lockdown for a few hours after the call came in around 2 p.m. Throughout the afternoon, students were trickling out slowly as SWAT moved in on each classroom. Many students came out with their hands up and tears in their eyes. When they came out, students were leaving their backpacks in a pile outside of the school.
Inside the school, a student shared a picture as they took cover during the shooting.
NEW: Photo from a student in the school barricaded in a classroom at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High where an active shooter incident is underway pic.twitter.com/rBVrENjtCM
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) February 14, 2018
During the lockdown, CBS4’s Rick Folbaum spoke via text messages with a student at the school who was hiding in a closet. She was later freed.
“All of a sudden there was a really loud noise…..people are crying the closet,” the student wrote to him earlier.
Officers are asking people to avoid the area.
President Donald Trump shared his condolences over Twitter and said he was speaking with Florida Governor Rick Scott.
“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.”
Governor Scott issued a statement on the shooting saying, “Just spoke with @POTUS about shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. My thoughts and prayers are with the students, their families and the entire community. We will continue to receive briefings from law enforcement and issue updates.”
Scott arrived in Parkland early Wednesday evening and said he would be remaining in South Florida to lend assistance wherever needed.
“As soon as this happened I started having updates from Sheriff Israel, I’ve talked to President Trump, the Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, Superintendent Runice, the Commissioner for Florida Department of Law Enforcement Rick Swearingen, and I know everybody has worked tirelessly to make sure we do everything to keep everybody safe and have a thorough investigation,” Scott said.
He added, “This is just absolutely, pure evil.”
Parents of students were asked to go to the Marriott Heron Bay located at 11775 Heron Bay Blvd in Coral Springs. As of 5 p.m., parents were being allowed in to be reunited with their kids.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School will be closed Thursday and Friday and all activities have been cancelled. The rest of the Broward Schools will be open.
Superintendent Runcie said that grief counselors will be available starting Thursday morning.
Students and family members can go to Pines Trail Park located at 10555 Trails End in Parkland, starting at 8 a.m.
Counselors for school staff members will be available at Parkland Library, 6620 North University Drive.
Counselors will also be at West Glades Middle, which is located adjacent to Stoneman Douglas High School.
“I have five advocates headed in right now, I will have at least ten more tomorrow, driving in from all over the state,” said Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. “We will pay for the funeral expenses of these poor victims and do everything we can to help their families. The State of Florida, we will pay for counselling for the surviving victims. We will pay for students that need counselling.”
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the FBI are taking part in the investigation.
The motive for this shooting is unclear at this time.