What we know so far
- Seventeen people – children and adults – were killed when a gunman entered the high school on Wednesday afternoon and launched an attack. Twelve people were found dead inside the school, two were killed outside the building, one in the street, and two died later in hospital from their injuries.
- The suspect has been named by police as 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz. He was arrested at the scene and is being questioned by investigators.
- The killer was armed with an AR-15 rifle and “multiple magazines”, police said.
- Cruz was formerly a student at Douglas, but was expelled for disciplinary reasons. A teacher at the school said staff had been warned not to let him back on campus. The suspect had reportedly been receiving treatment for mental health issues.
- Twelve of those killed have been identified, police said on Wednesday evening. No names of victims have yet been released, but Sheriff Scott Israel said a football coach was among those lost.
- Fifteen victims remain in hospital: five in a life-threatening condition and 10 with injuries that are not life-threatening.
- Students who had been at school with Cruz said many classmates had predicted he could “do something” to harm them and that he had previously brought guns to school.
- Teacher Melissa Falkowski said drills for a code red (active shooter) situation had been well rehearsed:
We could not have been more prepared for this situation … we have trained for this, we have trained the kids for what to do … We did everything that we were supposed to do.
I feel today like our government, our country, has failed us and failed our kids and didn’t keep us safe.
- Distressing messages from children in lockdown inside the school to their parents show the terror as teachers barricaded their students into classrooms and closets to evade the gunman.
- The tragedy appears to be the eighth deadliest mass shooting in contemporary US history. It is also one of at least eight US school shootings so far in 2018 that have caused injury or death.
- President Donald Trump tweeted his “prayers and condolences” to those affected, but decided not to speak about the attack, reports said.
- But others said thoughts and prayers were not enough. Chris Murphy, senator for Connecticut – site of the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting, in which 26 children and adults were killed – said:
This happens nowhere else other than the United States of America. This epidemic of mass slaughter, this scourge of school shooting after school shooting.
It only happens here not because of coincidence, not because of bad luck, but as a consequence of our inaction. We are responsible.
While refusing to pass substantive gun control restrictions, Congress has approved hundreds of millions of dollars in federal spending to help put police officers in public schools, including $45m in 2013, the year after the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting.
Some gun rights advocates have pushed to expand gun-carrying in schools further. Andrew McDaniel, a state legislator in Missouri who introduced legislation last year to make it easier to carry guns in schools, told the Guardianthat, in rural schools where it might take 20 or 30 minutes for law enforcement to respond to a school shooting in progress, it made sense to have other armed citizens ready to step in.
Cruz had been expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland, Florida, for disciplinary reasons, according to Broward county sheriff Scott Israel.
One student at the school, speaking to CNN but without disclosing his identity, said: “A lot of people were saying that it was going to be him. All the kids joked … saying he was the one that screwed up at school, but it turns out everyone predicted it. That’s crazy.”