Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter captured

Michelle Marchante/News Director

A Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, has left at least 17 people dead and others injured, according to the Broward Sheriff’s Office.

It was almost time for dismissal when students and staff heard what sounded like gunfire. Then, the school went on lockdown.

The suspect, 19-year old Nikolas Cruz, was captured by police in a nearby neighborhood around 4 p.m., according to a Broward County tweet.

“Our FIU family is shocked and saddened by the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School this afternoon,” read an email sent by President Mark B. Rosenberg to the university community around 7 p.m. “Senseless violence has struck again– this time in our community. I have reached out to Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie to offer our condolences and let him know we stand ready to help.”

69 current University students graduated from the high school, the email states, with 210 University alumni also from the high school. 45 students from Stoneman Douglas High had also been admitted to FIU for the 2018-2019 school year.

Cruz was a former student of Stoneman Douglas but was expelled last year for “disciplinary reasons,” said Scott Israel, BSO sheriff, during a news briefing. His social media also had disturbing content, according to Israel.

Live television footage showed students running away from the school as the SWAT team entered the building. The scene, at the time, was still active. Other footage showed students walking out with their hands in the air.

Cruz allegedly pulled the fire alarm to get students to leave the classroom and began shooting with an AR-15, a semi-automatic rifle, according to CBS News. Cruz, police later learned, had concealed himself in the crowd and was among those running out of the school, according to a BSO news release.

Parents looking for their children were told to go to the Marriott 11775 Heron Bay Blvd. in Coral Springs, and some parents are still at the Marriott waiting to hear word about their children, as of this article’s publication.

“Our District is dealing with an unimaginable tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.  There are no words to express the sorrow that we are all feeling. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families, as well as the entire Marjory Stoneman Douglas community,” reads a statement by Broward-County Schools Superintendent Robert W. Runcie, found on the Stoneman Douglas website.

As our District continues to work with law enforcement – we are focusing on providing our students, families and employees with the support and resources needed to cope with this devastating situation.  We have grief counselors and crisis teams ready to assist, and we will be providing details to all of our families and staff as we move forward.  Dealing with this tragedy is going to take time – and we will be here for every student, every family and every staff member.”

The high school will be closed Thursday, Feb. 15, and Friday, Feb. 16, and all school activities are also canceled, according to a tweet sent out by Broward-County Schools official Twitter account.

Any FIU students who need support should contact the University’s Counseling and Psychological Services and employees, Rosenberg’s email reads, may contact the Office of Employee Assistance.

Broward Schools will also be providing grief counseling.

Police are asking that anyone with information should call the FBI tip line at 1-800-CALL-FBI or to visit the FBI website created for the shooting.

The next briefing is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 15.

FIU Student Media will update this article as more information becomes available.


Featured Image courtesy of Creative Commons

About the Author

Michelle Marchante
Michelle Marchante is the 2018-2019 Editor-in-Chief of PantherNOW. Majoring in broadcast journalism, she lives and breathes web, print, radio and TV news 24/7. You can connect with her on Twitter @TweetMichelleM

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