A shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, involved “at least 14 victims” and many were feared dead, officials said Wednesday, adding that the suspect — believed to be a former student — was in custody.
The shooting suspect was identified as Nicolas Cruz, a U.S. official told The Associated Press.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was under lockdown as police rushed to the scene.
The young man believed to be the suspect was wearing a maroon shirt as police led him off to a squad car. Video provided to WSVN appeared to show officers cuffing the suspect in the grass.
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said the suspect was taken into custody “without incident” and was “not a current student” at the school.
The high school scene was still being cleared, he added, to ensure no other threat remains. Parkland is about 50 miles north of Miami.
Florida Sen. Bill Nelson told Fox News, “It’s a bad day.”
“I have already said my prayers to give them comfort, but this is a tough time,” Nelson said. “We say ‘enough is enough,’ but it happens again.”
Senator Marco Rubio echoed that sentiment on Twitter saying, “Today is that terrible day you pray never comes.”
“There are numerous fatalities,” Broward County Superintendent Robert Runcie said. “It is a horrific situation. It is a horrible day for us.”
He added that there was currently “no evidence” to suggest that there was “more than one shooter,” according to WSVN.
Coral Springs Police asked the public to avoid the area of the high school, saying it was an active scene. A nearby middle school was also put on lockdown as a precaution, officials said.
Officials also said students and teachers should remain barricaded in the school until they could be reached by police.
A video obtained by WSVN shows students throwing their hands in the air as an armed SWAT team enters the classroom while working to evacuate the school. A viewer, who sent it to the outlet, said she got it from her brother who was in the room.
Many students were seen walking or running from the area, the outlet said.
High school junior Noah Parness, 17, told The Associated Press that the fire alarm went off for the second time of the day about 2:30 p.m. He said he and others calmly went outside for a fire drill when he suddenly heard several pops.
“Everyone was kind of just standing there calm, and then we saw a bunch of teachers running down the stairway, and then everybody shifted and broke into a spring,” Parness said. “I hopped a fence.”
A person who claimed to be at the scene posted pictures to Twitter of students hiding beneath desks in one of the classrooms.
Caesar Figueroa, a parent of a 16-year-old student at the school, said he left work and headed to the area after receiving a phone call from his wife.
“My wife called me that there was an active shooter and the school was on lockdown,” Figueroa told The AP. “I got on the road and saw helicopters, police with machine guns.”
He said his daughter wasn’t answering his phone calls but eventually texted him that she was hidden inside a closet at school with friends.
“She was in a classroom and she heard gunshots by the window,” he said of the text. “She and her friends ran into the closet.”
Another parent, Beth Feingold, told The AP that her daughter sent a text at 2:32 p.m. saying “We’re on code red. I’m fine.” But she then sent another text soon afterward saying, “Mom, I’m so scared.” The girl was later able to escape the school unharmed.
In a tweet from Broward Schools, the high school was dismissing students and the district’s Special Investigative Unit, along with law enforcement, were on site.
President Trump offered his “prayers and condolences to the families of the victims” of the school shooting on Twitter.
“No child, teacher, or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school,” he said.
Governor Rick Scott said on Twitter that he’d spoken to the president, Broward Sheriff Scott Israel, as well as other officials, in regards to the incident and will “continue to receive updates from law enforcement.”
The FBI is also in touch with local authorities and responding to the incident, Fox News confirmed. Sheriff Israel confirmed the agency’s involvement and said they’ll begin processing the “horrific scene.”
Fox News’ Jake Gibson contributed to this story.
The is a developing story; please check back for updates.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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