At Least 17 dead In Florida High School Shooting

Credit: CBS Miami

NEWS:  At least 17 people were killed on Wednesday (Feb 14) in a shooting rampage at a Florida high school apparently carried out by a former student, Broward county's sheriff said in a press conference.

The suspect was identified as 19-year-old former student Nikolas Cruz, the sheriff added.

ABC News, citing two unnamed law enforcement officers at the scene, had earlier put the death toll at 15, while CNN, also citing unnamed law enforcement sources, said 16 people had been killed.

Earlier reports suggested that between 20 and 50 people had been hurt.

A gunman has opened fire at a high school near Miami in South Florida, killing an unknown number of people and injuring at least 14 others, local and federal officials say. A suspect was taken into custody after fleeing the scene. 

BNO News reported, the incident began just after 2:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday when officers were called to reports of shots being fired at the high school, which is located near Pompano Beach, about 34 miles (55 kilometers) north of Miami. 

A large number of police officers, including SWAT teams, responded to the scene. The suspect, who is described as a white male who may have been wearing a gas mask, fled the scene and was taken into custody about 1.5 mile (2.4 kilometers) from the school.

The Broward County Sheriff's Office said the suspect is a former student who is about 18 years old, but there was no immediate word on a possible motive. CBS Miami, citing sources, said the suspect pulled a fire alarm and opened fire as students left their classrooms and went into the hallway.

The exact number of victims was also not immediately clear, but Superintendent Robert Runcie said "numerous" people were killed in the shooting. The Broward County's Sheriff's Office said at least 14 victims were taken to area hospitals where there was no word on their conditions.

"This is an unbelievably catastrophic day in Broward County history," Sheriff Scott Israel said at a press briefing. "It's devastating. I'm sick to my stomach."

Federal law enforcement, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), are investigating Wednesday's shooting. 

"My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting," President Donald Trump said in a tweet. "No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school."

Since January 2013, "there have been at least 283 school shootings across the country - which averages out to one school shooting a week," according to Everytown for Gun Safety, a non-profit group that advocates for gun control.

Since the 2012 massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 children and six adults were shot dead, warning procedures and emergency drills have multiplied at US schools.

The goal is to teach school children how to react to a shooter who opens fire at random.



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