A gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school in Parkland, Fla., on Wednesday, killing 17 people and injuring at least a dozen others, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office said. The shooting suspect, a former student identified by police as Nikolas Cruz, was taken into custody in nearby Coral Springs. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., said Cruz wore a gas mask, had smoke grenades and set off the school’s fire alarm before opening fire. See the blog below for a recap and visit Yahoo.com for the latest updates on the investigation.
What we know:
• A shooting occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., about 50 miles north of Miami.
• Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said 17 people were killed and at least a dozen others were injured and transported to local hospitals. Of the injured, three are in critical condition, hospital officials said.
• Israel said that an "AR-15-style weapon" and multiple magazines were recovered at the scene.
• The suspected shooter, a former student identified by as 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, was taken into custody in nearby Coral Springs. Israel refused to speculate on a motive.
• Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., said Cruz wore a gas mask, had smoke grenades and set off the school's fire alarm before opening fire.
Students released from a lockdown embrace following following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Wednesday. (John McCall/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)
Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, co-founder of the gun violence prevention organization Giffords, issued the following statement reacting to news of the mass shooting in Florida:
“The accounts from today's school shooting in Parkland, Florida strike fear into all Americans. Is it safe to send our kids to school? Are we safe in our homes and communities? But our fear cannot compare to what our innocent children felt as the gunshots rang out, bullets flew through the halls of their school, and their teachers and classmates were gunned down.
“Even in our grief, we must summon the courage to fight against this fear. Americans must find the courage to imagine a country where these massacres do not occur. Our leaders must find the courage to escape the confines of their politics and pursue the moral necessity of peace and safety.
“If I could offer protection to the 315 Americans who are shot every day, I would. But we can't wall ourselves from the threat of gun violence, nor will we find safety in the deadly cycle of arming ourselves against each other.
“The defenders of the status quo - advocates of the firearms industry and the politicians paid to defend it — will tell you that events like these are virtual acts of nature, products of mental illness or bad parenting, beyond our ability to control. This could not be further from the truth. Every day we fail to take action, we choose this fate. We tolerate politicians who fail to acknowledge this crisis and vote against our safety. We let our gun violence epidemic continue day after deadly day.
“My heart is with the victims and survivors, and my gratitude is with Broward County's courageous first responders. The question now is if we will find the courage to pass the laws we need to protect our children, to stop dangerous people from accessing guns. And if Congress won't act, American voters must.”
Sheriff: 17 dead
At a grim press briefing, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said that 17 are dead following Wednesday's shooting at a Florida high school.
Twelve of the victims were found inside the Parkland, Fla., school; two were located just outside; and one found on a street in Pine Island. Two others died at the hospital. Israel said that at least a dozen others were injured and transported to local hospitals, and that some are currently in surgery.
The suspect, identified as 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, was taken into custody. An "AR-15-style" weapon and multiple magazines were recovered at the scene, Israel said.
Cruz, a former student at the high school, had been expelled for disciplinary reasons, Israel said. But the sheriff would not speculate on a motive.
Students are evacuated by police from Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., after a shooting on Wednesday. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)
Anthony Rizzo responds to school shooting at his alma mater: 'Please stay strong'
Chicago Cubs star Anthony Rizzo addressed the mass shooting that has reportedly resulted in “numerous fatalities” at his alma mater, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla, urging those impacted to “please stay strong.”
“Parkland and Coral Springs please stay strong! This is out of control and and our country is in desperate need for change. I hope In this darkest of times back home this brings everyone together and we can find love. You’re all in my prayers, Rizzo wrote in a tweet posted on Wednesday afternoon.
Rizzo, who attended the high school from 2003-2007, donated $150,000 to the school in November of 2017 to help fund improvements for their baseball and softball fields. That included the installation of lights for the upcoming season.
Rizzo was drafted out of high school by the Boston Red Sox in 2007. He’s gone on to have a notable career in MLB, which includes three All-Star selection and a World Series championship with the Cubs in 2016.