Gun­man kills at least 17 at Fla. high school

Po­lice say sus­pect, 19, is for­mer stu­dent, was car­ry­ing at least 1 ri­fle.

Dayton Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - By Terry Spencer and Kelli Kennedy

A for­mer stuPARKLAND, FLA. — dent opened fire at a Florida high school Wed­nes­day as classes were be­ing dis­missed, killing at least 17 peo­ple and send­ing scores of stu­dents run­ning into the streets to es­cape the bul­lets.

Fran­tic par­ents rushed to Mar­jory Stone­man Dou­glas High School, where SWAT team mem­bers and am­bu­lances had sur­rounded the cam­pus. Live footage showed emer­gency work­ers who ap­peared to be treat­ing the wounded on side­walks.

“It is a hor­rific sit­u­a­tion,” Su­per­in­ten­dent Robert Run­cie said. “It is a hor­ri­ble day for us.”

The 19-year-old sus­pect was iden­ti­fied as Niko­las Cruz. He was taken into cus­tody with­out in­ci­dent about an hour af­ter he left the school, au­thor­i­ties said.

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

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

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, but was run­ning along a busy road for part of the time, in what was a very chaotic scene around the school — one of the state’s largest in the county, with about 3,000 stu­dents.

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

Live 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, while 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.”

JOEL AUER­BACH / AP

Par­ents wait for news af­ter re­ports of a shoot­ing at Mar­jory Stone­man Dou­glas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Wed­nes­day.

JOE RAE­DLE / GETTY IMAGES

Stu­dents leave the Mar­jory Stone­man Dou­glas High School af­ter a shoot­ing at the school that killed at least 17 and in­jured oth­ers Wed­nes­day in Parkland, Fla. Po­lice said most fa­tal­i­ties were in­side the build­ing.

AMY BETH BEN­NETT / SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SEN­TINEL VIA AP

Peo­ple gather wait­ing for word from stu­dents at Co­ral Springs Drive and the Saw­grass Ex­press­way just south of the cam­pus fol­low­ing the shoot­ing. 2018.

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