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Gunman Kills At Least 17 People At Florida High School

Anxious family members wait for news of students as two people embrace, Wednesday, in Parkland, Florida. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Anxious family members wait for news of students as two people embrace, Wednesday, in Parkland, Florida. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

By TERRY SPENCER and KELLI KENNEDY, Associated Press

PARKLAND, Fla. (AP) — A former student opened fire at a Florida high school Wednesday, killing at least 17 people and sending scores of students fleeing into the streets in the nation's deadliest school shooting since a gunman attacked an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.

Frantic parents rushed to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to find SWAT team members and ambulances surrounding the campus as classes prepared to dismiss for the day. Live footage showed emergency workers who appeared to be treating the wounded on sidewalks.

"It is a horrific situation," said Robert Runcie, superintendent of the school district in Parkland, about an hour's drive north of Miami. "It is a horrible day for us."

The 19-year-old suspect was taken into custody without a fight about an hour after he left the scene, authorities said.

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said the suspect, who was previously expelled for disciplinary reasons, had at least one rifle and multiple magazines.

"It's catastrophic. There really are no words," Israel said on Twitter.

Most of the fatalities were inside the building, though some victims were found fatally shot outside, the sheriff said.

The gunman was identified as Nicolas Cruz by a U.S. official briefed on the investigation. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to discuss the information publicly.

In a cul-de-sac near the school, Michael Nembhard was sitting in his garage when he saw a young man in a burgundy shirt walking down the street. In an instant, a police cruiser pulled up and officers jumped out with guns drawn.

"All I heard was 'Get on the ground! Get on the ground!" Nembhard said. He said he could not see the suspect's face, but that the man got on the ground without incident.

The day started normally at the school, which had a morning fire drill, and students were in class around 2:30 p.m. when another alarm sounded.

Noah Parness, a 17-year-old junior, said he and the other students calmly went outside to their fire-drill areas when he suddenly heard popping sounds.

"We saw a bunch of teachers running down the stairway, and then everybody shifted and broke into a sprint," Parness said. "I hopped a fence."

Beth Feingold said her daughter, Brittani, sent a text at 2:32 p.m. that said, "We're on code red. I'm fine," but sent another text shortly afterward saying, "Mom, I'm so scared."

Brittani later was able to escape the school, which is one of the largest in the state, with about 3,000 students.

Inside the school, students heard loud bangs as the shooter fired. Many of them hid under desks or in closets and barricaded doors.

Television footage showed those students who fled leaving in a single-file line with their hands over their heads as officers urged them to evacuate quickly. Parents hurried to the scene.

Caesar Figueroa said when he got to the school to check on his 16-year-old daughter, he saw police officers drawing machine guns as they approached the campus.

"My wife called me that there was an active shooter, and the school was on lockdown. I got on the road and saw helicopters. ... It was crazy and my daughter wasn't answering her phone." She finally texted him that she was inside a closet with friends.

Len Murray's 17-year-old son, a junior at the school, 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."

A few minutes later, he texted again: "I'm fine."

Murray said he raced to the school only to be stopped by authorities under a highway overpass within view of the school buildings. He said he told his son to save his battery and stop texting. The boy's mother told him to turn off his ringer.

Authorities told parents to gather at a nearby hotel to get information.

"I'm scared for the other parents here. You can see the concern in everybody's faces. Everybody is asking, 'Have you heard from your child yet?'" Murray said.

Murray said he's had just one thought running through his mind since he got his son's text: "All I keep thinking about is when I dropped him off this morning. I usually say, 'I love you,' and I didn't this morning. He's 17, he's at that age, and I didn't say it this morning, and I'm just kicking myself right now over and over and over. Say it early and often, I'm telling you."

Comments

John 1 week, 1 day ago

It is time to join forces worldwide and stop the illegal sales of guns and more gun control. May their souls Rest In Peace

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Aegeaon 1 week, 1 day ago

Except the problem is that it's the people that use guns to kill instead of protect. From what I heard, civilian-issued weapons are only on semi-automatic fire. Until someone managed to alter the weapon to fire automatic bullets. Getting a gun is always a psychological challenge of itself, but altering the gun to break legal regulations is too far.

Guns themselves aren't the problem, it's the black market suppliers messing things up. After all, it's your choice to use the weapon to kill senselessly, or kill to protect others.

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ThisIsOurs 1 week, 1 day ago

Guns aren't the problem. People are the problem. People are killing themselves. ALL of these killers are disaffected. Pearl Jam had a hit "Jeremy" 30 years ago that described the root of the problem perfectly. The movie Cloud Atlas described it too.the things we do to others we are actually doing to ourselves.

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JohnDoe 1 week ago

I have heard this argument about people and not guns being the problem and always ask myself if that is the case why in 2017 with respect to homicides someone on average is more than 25 times more likely to be killed by guns than by any other method. Specifically, someone is about 20 times more likely to be killed from guns than personal weapons (hands, fist, feet etc), about 10 times more likely to be killed from guns than from knives or other cutting objects and about 100 times more likely to be killed from guns than from narcotics and about 125 more times likely to be killed from guns than by strangulation. The access to the guns and the people are not mutually exclusive and for that reason this argument always seemed to me to be intellectually circuitous because you cannot blame it on the guns blame it on the people and you cannot blame it on the people because they are disaffected.

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ThisIsOurs 1 week ago

You misunderstood me if you thought I was advocating for the right to bear arms. I dont think Bahamians are even tempered enough to be responsible with them.

I'm referring to WHY these mass killers do what they do. It's not because there's a gun or a bomb available. It's because theyve been disenfranchised by "People". People who don't realize that their mistreatment of this one individual could lead full circle back to them or their children. Your mistreatment of that person is killing you. Look at ALL the terrorists groups, on every continent and to a man you'll find someone at the root who was part of a historically disenfranchised group. We have our own dormant volcano right here in the shanty towns. Fix it quick.

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SP 1 week ago

It is hard to even begin to imagine state department warnings had this happened in the Bahamas!

This is the 18th school shooting in the US within the first 45 days of 2018. The US is the only country in the world where school shooting occurs.

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/14/florida-school-shooting-brings-yearly-tally-to-18-in-2018.html

Americans are many 1000's % safer at Arawak Cay, Cable Beach or anywhere over the hill than they are sitting in an American classroom!

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Aegeaon 1 week ago

Not really. In other countries it exists as well. Although those cases are less than the US, instead of unstable lone-wolf attackers, there's terrorist organizations doing it. The amount of attacks are less, but the death counts are higher.

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Sickened 1 week ago

I really feel for those parents. So very sad. As a parent I would not be satisfied until that kid is ripped limb from limb.

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meaver74 6 days, 4 hours ago

A worst day would be for the parents. May God give them courage.

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ashley14 1 week ago

What has happen to our society that our young people would commit such senseless crimes. I don't understand. I tend to believe that it's a lack of family values and church. You could name numerous reasons, but it all starts at home. Family time and support, with the Bible taught in the home gives us values to live by. What happened to helping our neighbors? Now were afraid of them. We go in and quickly lock our doors. Senseless loss of life. I pray for all of these families. I'm here enjoying your beautiful island, and I've been asking people about a friend I would like to find. They are very hesitant to help. I don't blame them. They don't know me. That is the world we live in now. I am glad I wasn't born any later in time than I was. I wouldn't trade the life I've had with family and close neighbors. Sitting on the porch watching the kids play, drinking tea. What is this play date stuff. If we wanted to play we went to the neighbors to play. We didn't even lock the doors. My grandmother used to feed the guys that train jumped. She would put the leftovers on the screen porch and they would come and eat. They never bothered anything. They were just down on their luck and were glad to get a good meal. I THINK THEY CALLED IT THE GOOD OLE DAY! lol I'll hush now. God Bless the Families of the one loss in this senseless crime.

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John 1 week ago

Unfortunately, this is the eight school shooting in the US just the six short weeks of 2018. And after gunning down SEVENTEEN people with an AK-47 rifle, most of whom were his former classmates the 19 y/o suspect is still alive and in police custody. SIX who were accused of shooting at and/or pulling weapons on police in this county are dead. Efforts are already underway to have this young man, who plowed though his former school, killing everything that moved, declared insane. You cannot export violence and don't expect chickens to come home to roost. The freelance disposal of American made weapons around the world is all too common. It is a big market. A big and very lucrative market. Do You think they worried about who their guns kill? They only wants to get paid. A market driven by greed. And bet more than 90 percent of the gun related murders in this country were committed with American made weapons. More than FIFTY PERCENT of the weapons from the CIA's "Fast and Furious" scam went missing. Thousands of weapons. so don't sit here and try play innocent with your lame ass story. 'bout 'guns don't kill people.'Please...guns don't manufacture themselves either, for that matter. Those who making the guns, and those who distributing them and those who facilitating the use and distribution and manufacture of guns are responsible. and those who make the movies like, "Valentines Day Massacre", to impress and inspire these young people to do the work of satan. Giving young people every weapon then need to destroy each other and themselves. Who is the subhuman and who is the animal in this story? The blood is on your hands.

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Aegeaon 1 week ago

No one seems to understand that there's the actions of a few Americans that ruins the entire country.

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SayWa 1 week ago

Ya think this gov will issue a travel advisory. America has more mass shootings than any other county in the world. Just saying!!!

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John 1 week ago

born a lamb, but speaking like dragon... "Suetonius, a Roman writer of the first century, records the story in his Lives of the Caesars: “When Atia [Octavian’s mother] had come in the middle of the night to the solemn service of Apollo, she . . . fell asleep, while the rest of the matrons also slept. On a sudden a serpent glided up to her and shortly went away. When she awoke, she purified herself, as if after the embraces of her husband, and at once there appeared on her body a mark in colours like a serpent, and she could never get rid of it. . . . In the tenth month after that [Octavian] was born and was therefore regarded as the son of Apollo.”

You cannot manufacture guns and ship them around the world, illegally ,to kill up other peoples' children and expect your children to be safe at home.

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DDK 1 week ago

Land of The Free and Home of The Guns! If the guy had a frying pan in his hand 17 people would not be dead.......... but guns do not kill people.

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ThisIsOurs 1 week ago

Guns do kill people so do frying pans. But not everyone with an assault rifle kills people. There's another reason. It's a mental thing and I'm not talking about being "crazy" or "insane". These people are quite sane, they just have warped thinking.

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John 1 week ago

"The FBI has confirmed that it was warned about the teenager who allegedly carried out a mass shooting at his former school in Florida.

Nikolas Cruz, who has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder, reportedly left a comment on a YouTube video last year stating: "I'm going to be a professional school shooter."

A user alerted authorities to the post.

Teachers were also warned about Mr Cruz, who was not allowed on campus with a backpack, US media report.

The FBI said it had investigated the YouTube comment but had been unable to fully identify the person who posted it." BBC

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ashley14 1 week ago

Yes, I was told by a friend that his mother had recently died of the flu and he was homeless. They said he had always been in trouble and that people that know him weren't surprised that it was him. I don't know what to do with our students. I drive a school bus, most kids are fine but occasionally you get one that just has problems.

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Aegeaon 1 week ago

John, I think you're not up to what truth has to offer. Despite the efforts of the few Americans that try to give the US a bad name. America has everything at their military and police disposal to control and contain an issue with criminals or terrorist cells. If only those idiots and stupid political games were to stop messing around, they can have the potential to clean up a town or even help make a city more safer for a time.

What about us? Even without school mass shootings, allowing 52 gangs to still breathe and kill Bahamians for sport is a disgrace. Allowing the police force to be completely outdated and disarmed is a complete disregard for law and safety. The Defense Force is completely pacified, and ordered to do so even as the criminals are clearly leading a bloody victory. Both agencies are severely outdated, as they still refuse to get even newer personal gear or more armored vehicles or transport aircraft. Thanks to poor customs, criminals have cutting-edge gear.

This is utter trash at its best, and absolutely horrible, shameful and inept at its worst. Why not put 480 million dollars or higher in the course of a couple of years in upgrading both agencies so they can effectively combat the threat. At any time, those gangs can grow into terrorists and cartels, and once we get around that point, it's too late to do anything but slow them down, not contain the issue.

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John 1 week ago

Aegeaon..THANKS or so eloquently calling me a liar. Unfortunately your argument is not with me but with the truth. And then with reality. With 6 million tourists coming in an out of this little country along with many other foreigners, The Bahamas has developed its share of problems. Among them are the drugs,the gangs, the violence, the murders, the music, movies, the fast and unhealthy the henny,etc., are all imported and mostly from our 'friends' and neighbor to the West. Not to mention guns and yes even the policing tactics, where young men are targeted, harassed, beaten up, falsely accused and, now, more than ever,killed by the police,under the pretense of fighting crime. Every person on earth know that gangs are an American creation. When you want to know real Bahamians and true Bahamian culture go spend some time on any of the Family Islands. And the leaders are coming to realize they need to fix the food and foreign influence problem. Embrace our young people an groom them to become upright and productive citizens rather than tossing them to be slaughtered by gangs an other vices, or to eventually be hunted down an killed like dogs by the police. 'The American republic was founded on a set of beliefs that were tested during the Revolutionary War. Among them was the idea that all people are created equal, whether European, Native American, or African American, and that these people have fundamental rights, such as liberty, free speech, freedom of religion, due process of law, and freedom of assembly. America’s revolutionaries openly discussed these concepts. Many Americans agreed with them but some found that the ideology was far more acceptable in the abstract than in practice. And yes, the majority of Americans are good people, but, like you said, there is that small minority that wants to spread dissent and mayhem both in that country and around the world, our little country included. and as a result you get mass killings, you get veterans, many whom are homeless and on drugs. War veterans who commit suicides at a rate of 14 a day. Over 5,000 a year. Where is their land of milk and honey?

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John 1 week ago

Just so you can wrap your mind around reality ; more Vets are committing suicide in the US each day than the number of soldiers killed in the numerous wars America is involved in around the world. And your statement that there are 52 gangs operating in the Bahamas with the potential to grow in to cartels or terrorists as just as baseless and As fiction as a comic book. How many Bahamians o you know to be terrorist or involved in such activities? Are you aware that most Bahamians that join gangs do so at an early age and once they learn what gang banging is about they try to get out. and many lose their lives trying to find the exit. Your credibility is shot on all sides so change your pen name, rewind and try again.

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ashley14 1 week ago

I feel safe here. I feel safe at school, but I'm always alert to potential problems. There are a lot of heroes in this story. I feel for all of lives lost that hadn't even begun yet, and their families trying to go on without them. You can't let fear get the best of you. There have been articles about Fish Fry's safety. I'm on my way for some Bahamian food. Then onto find some nite life. I'll let you know how safe I thought it was later. I'm sure it will be great!

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sheeprunner12 1 week ago

The American youth has taken on a malady that has been created by their parents ........ Parents of most American millennials do not hardly go to church, say family prayer, scold their children, discipline or punish their children, sit and talk with their children, set aside outdoors family time, or meet face-to-face with their children's teachers anymore ........... everything is done through the magic smartphone and "online" ........ now "on-line" is biting them in their asses.

I pray to Jehovah God that The Bahamas never becomes like the USA.

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John 1 week ago

The chickens are coming home to roost

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John 1 week ago

The police were called to this man’s home (the killer) 39 times before this incident occurred. THIRTY NINE TIMES! If he was Black..,. Never mind!

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John 6 days, 18 hours ago

And that is the problem. You cannot separate and divide and discriminate and expect there to be peace and harmony. The fear in America is real. Parents have gone into panic and are shelling out up to $1,000 to purchase bulletproof clothing and backpacks for their children. Why does a 19 y/o need a rifle, especially when he has mental challenges?

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SP 6 days, 17 hours ago

It is absolutely astonishing that no one here has called this boy that murdered 17 innocent people and shot up a school, any derogatory names!

Imagine the name calling and racial slurs from you people had a black Bahamian robbed or attacked a tourist. Why is it that civility is maintained when a white perpetrator commits heinous crimes?

The Willie Lynch Syndrome and racial bias are alive and well in the Bahamas.

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John 6 days, 6 hours ago

It is nothing to do with mind control. Many Bahamians travel to Florida on a regular basis and so the tragedy that happened there is close to them. More even, many have had the experience of losing a child or loved one to violence and crime in the prime of their lives and when it was least expected and so their hearts are with the families of the 17 victims that were killed and not focused on the killer or his color. Despite what the U S State department frequently publishes about Bahamians they and caring and humble people who still believe in being their brother's keeper.

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joeblow 6 days, 17 hours ago

Wherever there is a lack of moral discipline, respect for others and the rule of law, chaos MUST be the end result. It will manifest itself in various ways, but social chaos must occur!

This is why good traditional parenting is fundamental to a sound society!

When people don't learn to think right, they cannot act right!

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sheeprunner12 6 days, 9 hours ago

100% agree .............. If it is taught, it will be ingrained. The Florida boy killer is a prime example of lack of parenting ....... and the excuse now is that he has "mental issues" ......... smt

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ashley14 5 days, 17 hours ago

Yes, this young man had been screaming for help and he slipped right through the crack. Even the FBI had been warned twice about him. School kicks him out. His mother died. Did anyone get him help? Now 17 people have lost their lives needlessly. The teachers that shielded these kids. True heroes. God Bless Them All! I hope the US learns from this experience. I told you I would give my opinion of Fish Fry. Not true Bahamian food, but good. Safety and cleanliness, no problems at all. Then onto party with Funky D, totally fun. Tourist opinion. Now I'm leaving on a Jet Plane, Don't know when I'll be back again! Grand Bahama bound for a few days! Had a great time. Thanks for your hospitality!

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ashley14 5 days, 17 hours ago

Sunday morning the Pancake House, ordering boiled fish. It's a true treat for me. Perfect way to start the day. After breakfast, I'll start my walk of the island. Lot's of fun. Mom and I spent years doing this. Lot's of memories. I know my way around Grand Bahama. I feel at home. Nassau I'm learning.

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DaGoobs 5 days, 5 hours ago

One more reason why we need our own national travel advisory system for travelling to the USA but particularly Florida. Have they stopped the bump and rob tactics where they bump your car from back or front and then rob you at gunpoint after you've left the rental car agency? Have they stopped teefing your purchases and other belongings out of your rental car or van while you are parked and eating or shopping or sleeping? Have they beefed up security in these low brand name hotels to stop them from breaking into your hotel room while you are out to teef your stuff, particularly if you're in a ground floor room? Have the car rental companies put real car alarms in their cars that go off when the vehicle is broken into or the door locks jimmied, or do their alarms only work when someone tries to steal the vehicle but doesn't have the ignition key? Yeah our people get robbed and raped in the USA too but we apparently don't make as big a deal about it as their embassy does for their citizens in this country. You can buy any weapon of death in the USA, obviously guns being the easiest to buy, then go on the Internet and watch videos on how to modify them and where to buy the parts. Then we have the mindless souls who bring guns here on their yachts and planes for sale or the others who import them hidden in personal goods and supplies. Time to put a stop these gaping holes in our borders whereby unlicensed guns find their way into our country and into the wrong hands. The same way the American Customs x-ray shipments from the Bahamas to the USA for contraband, maybe we need to get x-ray machines for shipments from the USA and elsewhere to the Bahamas.

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