Florida school shooting leaves 17 dead

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People are brought out of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after a shooting at the school on Feb. 14, 2018 in Parkland, Florida. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

A shooting at a high school in southern Florida left 17 dead and more than a dozen injured Wednesday, according to local law enforcement.

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz opened fire shortly before 2:40 p.m. at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Cruz, expelled last year for “disciplinary reasons,” came armed with an AR-15 rifle and several magazines, Israel told reporters at a Wednesday night news conference.

A dozen of the 17 victims died inside the school, while two more perished later at an area hospital. Cruz also shot two people outside the building and another victim standing on a nearby street, according to law enforcement. Some five victims were unidentified as of Wednesday night.

“It’s catastrophic,” Israel said on Twitter less than an hour after news of the shooting broke. “There really are no words.”

Investigators began combing through Cruz’s social media profiles Wednesday in search of a motive, uncovering a “very, very disturbing” portrait — including images of the former student holding guns and knives with his face obscured by a black scarf.

“If you are on a website and you know something or you see something. You see a person with rifles and weaponry, 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 someone tonight,” Israel said. “You could prevent a major tragedy like this devastation that happened in Parkland tonight.”

President Donald Trump tweeted a statement Wednesday night in support of the victims. “My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting,” he said. “No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school.”

Cruz remains in police custody after receiving medical treatment Wednesday afternoon. Broward County School District Superintendent Robert Runcie said Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School will close for the rest of the week and grief counselors will be made available for students and families.

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