Numerous Fatalities At Florida High School
A former student at a Florida high school has opened fire in the school, causing "numerous fatalities" and wounding at least 14 people before he was arrested.
The attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, about 72 kilometres north of Miami, the attack sent hundreds of panicked students fleeing into the streets while dozens of police and emergency services personnel swarmed the area.
"There are numerous fatalities. It's a horrific situation," Broward Country Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said.
The gunman, about 18 years old, surrendered to police quietly, said Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel.
"It's catastrophic," he said. "There really are no words."
Fourteen wounded people were transported to area hospitals, Israel told a press conference said.
He added that police in tactical gear were still searching the school for victims.
The Associated Press has identified the alleged shooter as Nicolas Cruz, but Israel offered few details on his motive.
"There was a time when he did attend the school," Israel said. "I don't know why he left, I don't know when he left."
It was the 18th shooting in a US school so far this year, according to gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety.
Staff and students told local media that a fire alarm went off around the time the shooting started, sparking chaos as some 3,000 students at the school first headed into hallways before teachers herded them back into classrooms, to seek shelter in closets.
Kyle Yeoward, a 16-year-old junior, said he was in the bathroom on the second floor of the building on the campus where most of the shooting took place, when he heard two shots.
"He let loose on the freshman building," Yeoward said
McKenzie Hartley, 19, who identified herself as the sister of a student at the school described the scene in a text message: "She heard him shooting through the windows of classrooms and two students were shot."
Panicked parents checked on their children.
"It is just absolutely horrifying. I can't believe this is happening," Lissette Rozenblat, whose daughter goes to the school, told CNN.
Her daughter called her to say she was safe but the student also told her mother she heard the cries of a person who was shot.
"She was very nervous. She said that she could hear the person who was shot crying out for help," she said.
Televised images showed dozens of students, their arms in the air, weaving their way between law enforcement officers with heavy weapons and helmets, and large numbers of emergency vehicles including police cars, ambulances and fire trucks.
The school had recently held a meeting to discuss what to do in such an attack, Ryan Gott, a 15-year-old freshman told CNN.
"My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting," U.S. President Donald Trump said on Twitter.
"No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school."