Florida: At least 17 dead in Parkland school shooting
At least 17 people have been killed in Florida after a gunman opened fire on a local high school, in one of the deadliest mass shootings in US modern history.
Authorities warned late on Wednesday that the death toll could rise as some of the more than 14 people who were wounded were in critical condition and undergoing surgery.
Police say the suspect is 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz who was expelled from high school for disciplinary problems. He was taken into custody shortly after the shooting.
On Thursday morning, police charged Cruz with 17 counts of premediated murder.
Officials said the gunman began shooting outside the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida at about 2:40pm local time on Wednesday. Some students believed a fire drill was taking place.
The gunman, armed with a semiautomatic AR-15 rifle, a gas mask, smoke genades and “multiple magazines” of ammunition entered the school and continued his rampage.
Those inside the school can be heard yelling “Oh my God!” as shots rang out in videos circulating on social media.
A student told local media he had to wait in a closet while the school was under a “code red” lockdown.
“I was just in disbelief. I was texting my friends and my family,” the student told WPTV-TV, an NBC affiliate in West Palm Beach, Florida, after being evacuated from the school.
“I didn’t believe it was actually happening,” he said.
The gunman then fled the scene and was taken into custody about an hour later in a neighbouring city, officials said.
“It is a horrific situation,” Broward County public school Superintendent Robert Runcie told The Associated Press. “It is a horrible day for us,” he added.