The community of Parkland, Florida is in mourning after 17 students and teachers at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were reported to have died in the latest mass shooting, this time by a former student of the school.
According to reports, investigating officials identified the school shooter as 19- year old Nikolas Cruz, who was expelled from the school for disciplinary reasons.
On Wednesday at about 2:30pm, just before classes ended, Cruz walked onto campus armed with a semi-automatic AR-15 style rifle and ‘countless magazines,’ and opened fire, said Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel.
The Associated Press reports that he was also armed with a gas mask and smoke bomb, which he used to set off the school’s smoke alarm, to allegedly bring more students out from their classrooms and into hallways.
A total of 17 people were killed on Wednesday, 12 of them inside the school, and three more were killed just outside the school and another two died of their injuries after being taken to the hospital, according to this report.
Cruz then was able to conceal himself in the hoard of frantic students and personnel rushing to get out o of campus. He was found about two hours later at neighboring Coral Springs, where Coconut Creek Police found him then took him to a hospital for reported ‘labored breathing.’
“We have already begun to dissect his websites and things on social media that he was on, and some of the things that have come to mind are very, very disturbing,” Israel said in a statement to the media on Wednesday night.
Jim Gard, a math teacher at the school said in an interview with the Miami Herald that Cruz before his expulsion, he was identified as a potential threat to other students and was not allowed to carry a backpack with him on campus.
“There were problems with him last year threatening students, and I guess he was asked to leave campus,” said Gard.
He added that he taught Cruz for a semester in 2016, and described him as a “quiet kid” who he “never had any problems with.” But some female students in his class had said Cruz had “problems with other girls.”
Apart from behavioral and social problems, Cruz was also apparently ‘really into weapons and weird stuff,’ said some classmates, and jokes had been going around that he was going to be a school shooter some day.
“Everyone predicted” it about Cruz, said another high school student in an interview with WJXT.
“[They] threw jokes around like that, saying that he’s the one to shoot up the school. He was on the third floor, he knows the school layout. He knows where everyone would be at. He’s been in fire drills — he’s prepared for this stuff,” the teen said.
— Vic Micolucci WJXT (@WJXTvic) February 14, 2018
Barely 45 days into 2018, and this is already the 30th mass shooting to occur in the United States, according to the Gun Violence Archive.