Broward Sheriff confirmed that ‘we have at least 14 victims’ although he did not specify whether they had been injured or killed. Florida Senator Bill Nelson told Fox News there were ‘many deaths’. Sources told CBS at least seven people had been confirmed dead.
Students barricaded themselves into their classrooms, while others were seen running out of the building with their hands in their air as police and SWAT teams swarmed the school. Those fleeing the school, in single file, each threw their backpack into a large pile and huddled together under trees across the street.
At around 4pm, two hours after the shooter first opened fire, police and SWAT teams took him into custody. Police describe him as a student and a former member of the U.S. Army Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program.
Video shows him wearing a maroon or burgundy colored top as he was put in the back of a cruiser by half a dozens officers. The school district stated that the shooting happened shortly before dismissal time when students heard what sounded like gunfire.
Horrifying video, filmed from inside a classroom at the school, captured the moment the shooter, who was wearing a gas mask, burst in and began shooting at his fellow students who were screaming in terror.
The students sat or lay on the floor of the classroom, trying to avoid being hit, as rapid gunfire was heard nearby. One girl’s hysterical screams were suddenly cut off during the shocking clip. Matthew Walker, a 17-year-old student at the school, told WFOR-TV that all his classmates ‘knew it was going to be him.’
‘A lot of people were saying it was going to be him,’ he said. ‘A lot of kids threw jokes around saying that he was going to be the one to shoot up the school.
‘It turns out that everyone predicted it. That’s crazy.’
‘He was going class to class just shooting at random kids,’ he said. ‘Everything he posts (on social media) is about weapons. It’s sick.
Desperate parents and relatives of students still locked down in the high school rushed to the scene to find out if their children were among the injured. One mother, Michelle, whose daughter was inside, said there at least 20 students and teachers still barricaded in the school buildings. The unnamed mom said her daughter sent her a text that said:
‘There’s been a shooting in school … and it’s for real.’
Speaking outside the police perimeter, she said:
‘She was texting me up until about four minutes ago and now she’s not responding and I’m getting nervous. Last she texted me she was in a building from across where the shooting was at. I’m on pins and needles because she isn’t responding to me now.’
CBS Miami reporter Rick Folbaum said he was exchanging messages with a child still inside, who is hiding in a closet.
‘I’m continuing to text with a student, a young girl who I know well, who is in the building right now who told me that she heard a loud noise and what sounded like gunfire, three shots’, he said.
‘She texted: All of a sudden there was a really loud noise…..people are crying the closet.’
A father named Caesar Figueroa told CBS:
‘My daughter is with a friend and is trapped in a closet. She is afraid to talk out loud. It’s like a war zone here with cops, machine guns, helicopters. The FBI is here, everyone is here. I told my daughter not to call me because I don’t want anyone to hear her voice.’
Photographs taken by students inside the school showed them crouching behind piles of chairs and hiding behind desks. The shooter reportedly fled the building when police arrived mixing in with others students leaving the school.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is in Parkland – Florida’s safest city last year. Video showed students being loaded into ambulances or even treated on the ground at the scene. The school remains on lockdown.
Coral Springs police have advised people to avoid the neighborhood while the active shooter situation is underway.
President Donald Trump has tweeted about the shooting to offer his condolences to the victims.