17 declared dead in Florida school shooting - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

17 declared dead in Florida school shooting

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PARKLAND, Fla. (AP) - The Latest on a deadly school shooting at a Florida high school (all times local):
  
12:55 p.m.
  
A Mississippi bail bondsman named Benjamin Bennight says he alerted the FBI last September after someone using the screen name "Nikolas Cruz" posted a comment on his YouTube channel saying: "Im going to be a professional school shooter."
  
Bennight explains in a video post that he flagged it for YouTube and called an FBI office in Mississippi to report it. He says FBI agents visited him the next day.
  
Agent Rob Lasky says the agency did a database review but couldn't determine the time, location or true identity of the person making the comment.
  
Bennight says the FBI came calling again within hours of the shooting. He says "they're going to have to get with YouTube about where the comment originated, but I think they already know."
  
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12:50 p.m.
  
The leader of a white nationalist militia says Florida school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz was a member of his group and participated in paramilitary drills in Tallahassee.
  
Jordan Jereb told The Associated Press on Thursday that his group, the Republic of Florida, wants Florida to become its own white ethno-state. He said his group holds "spontaneous random demonstrations" and tries not to participate in the modern world.
  
Jereb said he didn't know Cruz personally and that "he acted on his own behalf of what he just did and he's solely responsible for what he just did."
  
He also said he had "trouble with a girl" and he believed the timing of the attack, carried out on Valentine's Day, wasn't a coincidence.
  
Nineteen-year-old Cruz has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder in the shooting.
  
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12:35 p.m.
  
The Dollar Tree retail chain confirms that the Florida high school shooting suspect worked at their store in Parkland.
  
In a Thursday statement, the Dollar Tree says they'll share any information about 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz with local and federal officials that may help with the investigation. The retailer also expressed sympathy for the Parkland community and those affected by the Wednesday attack that killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
  
Cruz has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder in the shooting.
  
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11:35 a.m.
  
President Donald Trump said the nation is "joined together as one American family" after a shooting at a Florida high school that killed 17 people.
  
In a national address from the White House on Thursday, Trump said he wanted to speak directly to America's children, saying "you are never alone, and you never will be." He said no child should have to go to school fearing for their lives.
  
Trump said he'll travel to Florida meet with victims' families, explore how to better secure schools and "tackle the difficult issue of mental health."
  
He did not mention guns or gun control.
  
Nineteen-year-old Nikolas Cruz has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder in the Wednesday afternoon shooting in Parkland, Florida.
  
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11:20 a.m.
  
A Florida sheriff says there was an armed officer on campus at the time of a deadly high school shooting.
  
But Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said Thursday the officer never encountered the suspect during the Wednesday afternoon attack that killed 17 people.
  
Nineteen-year-old Nikolas Cruz has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder in the Wednesday afternoon shooting in Parkland, Florida.
  
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10:55 a.m.
  
Florida Gov. Rick Scott says he'll sit down with state leaders and work on how they can make sure people with mental illness aren't able to get guns.
  
Scott spoke Thursday a day after a shooting left 17 people dead at a high school. He said leaders will look at how they can make sure something like that never happens again.
  
FBI agent Rob Lasky says the FBI investigated a 2017 YouTube comment that said "I'm going to be a professional school shooter"; but the agency couldn't identify the person making the comment.
  
Nineteen-year-old Nikolas Cruz has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder in the Wednesday afternoon shooting in Parkland, Florida.
  
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10:10 a.m.
  
Kentucky's Republican governor says he's heartbroken over a school shooting in Florida that killed 17 just weeks after a similar shooting at a high school in his state.
  
Gov. Matt Bevin told talk radio hosts his heart is truly broken for the people of Florida and the community has been shattered in a similar way that Kentucky was in January. He said guns are not the reason for increase in school shootings, but blamed a culture that delegitimizes life through violent video games, TV shows and music lyrics.
  
Bevin called video games where people kill others "garbage" and said "it's the same as pornography." He said "freedom of speech" has been abused by allowing things that are "filthy and disgusting and have no redeemable value."
  
Nineteen-year-old Nikolas Cruz has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder in the Wednesday afternoon shooting in Parkland, Florida.
  
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8:55 a.m.
  
A school district superintendent choked up during a television interview while discussing the scene at a Florida High School where 17 people were killed during a shooting rampage shortly before dismissal time.
  
Broward County school district Superintendent Robert Runcie told WSVN on Thursday morning that seeing the bodies strewn on floors inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School "was absolutely horrific."
  
A tearful Runcie said the scene was "nothing like I've ever seen in my entire life."
  
Runcie said his thoughts are with the parents and families whose children didn't come home from school Wednesday.
  
Former student, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, was booked into jail early Thursday after being questioned by authorities through the night. He's charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.
  
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8:40 a.m.
  
An attorney representing the family who had taken in Florida school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz says they're shocked by what happened and had no idea he was planning anything.
  
Jim Lewis told The Associated Press on Thursday that Cruz began living with the family after his mother died in November. He said Cruz was quiet and very respectful but also sad.
  
Lewis says Cruz had an AR-15 rifle in the home with them but it was kept in a locked cabinet.
  
Lewis says the family - who he declined to identify - has been cooperating with law enforcement, who have been searching their home. He also said the family's own son, a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was at the school when the shooting happened and is shaken up by it.
  
Cruz has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder in the Wednesday afternoon shooting in Parkland, Florida.
  
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8:30 a.m.
  
A law enforcement official is telling The Associated Press that a former student who killed 17 people at a Florida school legally purchased his AR-15 rifle about a year ago.
  
The official is familiar with the investigation into the school shooting but not authorized to discuss it publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
  
Federal law allows people 18 and over to legally purchase long guns. At 21, people can legally buy handguns from a licensed dealer.
  
Associated Press writer Sadie Gurman reported from Washington.
  
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7:50 a.m.
  
President Donald Trump says it appears the suspect in Florida's deadly school shooting was "mentally disturbed."
  
Trump tweeted Thursday about the shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school. A former student opened fire Wednesday with an AR-15 rifle, killing 17 people. The 19-year-old was charged Thursday morning.
  
Trump says: "So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!"
  
The president offered sympathy in another tweet Wednesday and said he spoke with Florida's governor, but he has not addressed the nation.
  
Trump has cited mental health before as a cause for mass shootings, dismissing questions about gun control.
  
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7:30 a.m.
  
Grief counselors are being made available to students and staff after a mass shooting at their Florida high school killed 17 people and left 14 others hospitalized with wounds and injuries.
  
The Broward County school district says counseling will be offered at five locations for anyone affected by Wednesday afternoon's shooting. But Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, now a crime scene, will remain closed through the President's Day weekend.
  
The suspect, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, is charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder. He was arrested about two miles from the school shortly after the shooting and initially taken to a hospital with breathing problems. Cruz was questioned overnight and booked into the Broward County Jail early Thursday.
  
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1 a.m.
  
Just before the shooting broke out, some students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School thought they were having another fire drill.
  
Such an exercise had forced them to leave their classrooms hours earlier. So when the alarm went off Wednesday afternoon shortly before they were to be dismissed, they once again filed out into the hallways.
  
That's when police say 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, equipped with a gas mask, smoke grenades and multiple magazines of ammunition, opened fire with a semi-automatic weapon, killing 17 people and sending hundreds of students fleeing into the streets. It was the nation's deadliest school shooting since a gunman attacked an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, more than five years ago.
 

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6:05 p.m.
  
A sheriff says 17 people have died in the shooting attack on a South Florida high school.
  
Sheriff Scott Israel of Broward County says the 19-year-old suspect is in custody and that investigators are beginning to "dissect" what happened in the attack Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
  
He says the suspect, a former student, was previously expelled for disciplinary reasons.
  
Israel says the man had at least one rifle and multiple magazines.
  
He says most of the fatalities were inside the building though some were found fatally shot outside.
  
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5:40 p.m.
  
A man says he watched as officers arrested the suspect in the shooting at a Florida high school, where authorities are reporting numerous deaths.
  
Michael Nembhard told The Associated Press he was in his garage watching TV news coverage of the shooting when he heard a police officer repeatedly yelling, "get on the ground!"
  
Nembhard says he looked up to see a teenage boy on the ground about 150 yards (meters) away with an officer pointing a gun at him. The officer stood over the boy until other officers arrived, handcuffed him and led him away.
  
A federal official who spoke on condition of anonymity identified the suspect as Nicolas Cruz. The official says he wasn't authorized to discuss it publicly.
  
Cruz is 19 years old. He had previously attended the high school but was expelled for disciplinary reasons.
  
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5:20 p.m.
  
A federal official has identified the Florida school shooting suspect as Nicolas Cruz.
  
The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. The official says he had been briefed on the investigation into the shooting at the South Florida high school, but was not authorized to discuss it publicly.
  
Authorities in Florida say the shooter opened fire at the school Wednesday afternoon, killing "numerous" people. The shooting sent frightened students running out into the streets and SWAT team members swarming the building.
  
Authorities later announced that they had taken a former student, about 18 years old, into custody after locating him off the school grounds.
  
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5 p.m.
  
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel says the Florida high school shooting suspect is a former student about 18 years old.
  
He says the suspect was arrested without incident off school grounds in a nearby community. He didn't elaborate on when the suspect had attended Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parikland.
  
A shooter opened fire at the school Wednesday afternoon, killing "numerous" people, sending students running out into the streets and SWAT team members swarming in before authorities took the shooter into custody.
  
Israel says the FBI has arrived and will begin processing what he describes as "horrific scene."
  
He called it a "catastrophic day."
  
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4:40 p.m.
  
Parents described scenes of chaos as they rushed to find their frightened children after a shooting at a South Florida high school.
  
Caesar Figueroa says he was one of the first parents to arrive at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, seeking his 16-year-old daughter after the shooting there.
  
A shooter opened fire at the school Wednesday, killing several people and sending students running out into the streets as SWAT team members swarming in. Authorities later reported they had taken the shooting suspect into custody.
  
Figueroa says: "It was crazy and my daughter wasn't answering her phone."
  
According to Figueroa, she texted him that she was hidden in a school closet with friends after she heard gunshots.
  
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4:25 p.m.
  
A school official says there are numerous fatalities from the high school shooting in South Florida.
  
Broward County Superintendent Robert Runcie says "There are numerous fatalities. It is a horrific situation." He added, "It is a horrible day for us."
  
The Broward County Sheriff's Office tweeted Wednesday afternoon that "so far we have at least 14 victims." The tweet added: "Victims have been and continue to be transported to Broward Health Medical Center and Broward Health North hospital."
  
The sheriff's statement didn't elaborate on the victims or their injuries.
  
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4:15 p.m.
  
The White House has canceled its daily press briefing after a Florida high school shooting that sent students rushing into the streets.
  
President Donald Trump has spoken with Florida Gov. Rick Scott about the shooting. He says in a tweet that the White House is "working closely with law enforcement on the terrible Florida school shooting."
  
He earlier tweeted his condolences to the families of the victims.
  
Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says Trump has offered Florida federal assistance, if needed. The homeland security secretary has also been in touch with state and local officials.
  
Sanders says, "We continue to keep the victims, and their friends and family, in our thoughts and prayers."
  
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4:10 p.m.
  
Authorities say the shooter at a South Florida high school is now in custody.
  
The Broward County Sheriff's Office gave no details in briefly tweeting that development. It did not identify the shooting suspect nor say how the person was taken into custody.
  
Television footage showed police putting a person in the back of a police car outside the high school.
  
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4 p.m.
  
Parent John Obin says his son, a freshman at the South Florida high school where the shooting erupted, says his child was in class when he heard several shots. The father says his son advised that teachers quickly rushed students out of the school. He adds the boy told his father that he walked by two people on the ground motionless - and apparently dead - as students rushed outside.
  
"This is a really good school, and now it's like a war zone," Obin said
  
Coral Springs Police said on their Twitter account Wednesday that Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was locked down and that students and teachers inside should remain barricaded until police reach them.
  
Outside, televised news footage showed two people on stretchers and another person being treated on the ground at an intersection near the scene of the school. Paramedics were treating those who appeared to be students with injuries, but it wasn't clear how they were hurt. A few students were loaded into ambulances.
  
One unidentified student told a reporter at the scene that at first students thought it was a fire drill because they had heard fire alarms going off.
  
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3:55 p.m.
  
The shooting at a South Florida high school sent students rushing into the streets as SWAT team members swarmed in and locked down the building. Police were warning that the shooter was still at large even as ambulances converged on the scene and emergency workers appeared to be treating those possibly wounded.
  
Aerial television news footage showed police in olive fatigues, with weapons drawn, entering the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Then dozens of students could be seen frantically running and others quickly walking out. A police officer waved the students on, urging them to quickly evacuate the school.
  
Some students exited the building in single-file rows with hands raised overhead to show they carried no weapons. Others held onto other students as they made their way out past helmeted police in camouflage with weapons drawn.
  
Emergency medical personnel pulled stretchers from the backs of ambulances as police cars surrounded the parking lot.  At least one person was seen being wheeled to the ambulance on a gurney. It wasn't immediately clear how many people were wounded.
  
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3:45 p.m.
  
Len Murray's 17-year-old son, a junior at the South Florida high school where shooting was reported, sent his parents a chilling text: "Mom and Dad, there have been shots fired on campus at school. There are police sirens outside. I'm in the auditorium and the doors are locked."
  
Those words came at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday. A few minutes later, he texted again: "I'm fine."
  
Murray raced to the school only to be stopped by authorities under a highway overpass within view of the school buildings in Parkland.
  
No information was immediately given to parents, Len Murray says.  And he says he remained worried for all those inside.
  
"I'm scared for the other parents here. You can see the concern in everybody's faces. Everybody is asking, 'Have you hard from your child yet?'"
  
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3:15 p.m.
  
Authorities say a shooter at a Florida high school is still at large.
  
The Broward Sheriff's Office shared the information on its Twitter account after Wednesday afternoon's shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
  
It wasn't immediately clear how many people were wounded.
  
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2:30 p.m.
  
Authorities say they're responding to a shooting at a Florida high school.
  
The Broward Sheriff's Office has told news outlets the shooting occurred Wednesday afternoon at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
  
It wasn't immediately clear how many people were wounded.

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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