Yesterday afternoon, just before 3 pm, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida unleashed a hail of gunfire, killing at least 17 people while leaving others hospitalized with gunshot wounds, authorities said.
According to Broward County Sheriff, Scott Israel, twelve individuals were murdered inside the school while another two were shot and killed outside of the school. Another individual was found dead on a roadway and two others were pronounced dead at the hospital.
This marks the nineteenth school shooting in the US during 2018, and the month of February isn’t even over. The shooting is among the 10 deadliest shootings in modern US history, and like many mass shootings before it, has revived debate over gun control.
Investigators are still trying to find a motive behind the carnage.
Alleged photos of the suspect have surfaced, showing him sporting a shirt with a hammer and sickle, a symbol of communism, and prominent communist figures Marx, Lenin and Stalin. It’s quite conceivable that Cruz was merely mentally disturbed and clinged to ideologies to fill an emotional void.
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An ex-schoolmate of Cruz recalled him posting on Instagram about killing animals and said he spoke about conducting target practice in his backyard with a pellet gun.
Israel says investigators are dissecting the suspect’s social media posts and found material that is “very, very disturbing.”
Comments from police at the scene have indicated that Cruz was armed with an AR-15 assault rifle and had ‘countless magazines’ on his person. Authorities have reported that the 19-year-old began his shooting spree outside the high school of 3,200 students, and continued the rampage inside the building.
The Broward County Sheriff, Scott Israel, confirmed Wednesday afternoon that the shooter is in police custody.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has said that the state would pay for all funeral expenses for the families of the deceased.
Wednesday afternoon, after being briefed on the shooting, President Donald Trump tweeted his condolences to the families of the victims.
Cruz is due in court today, Thursday, February 15.