PARKLAND, Fla. — Seventeen students and adults were killed and at least 12 others were injured in a shooting at a south Florida high school, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said Wednesday. A former student was taken into custody as the suspect.
Israel confirmed the number of dead and said they included students and adults. He said 12 were killed in the school building, two were killed immediately outside the building, one was found dead on the street and two more succumbed to their wounds at the hospital.
The shooting occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida about 3 p.m.
“It’s catastrophic. There really are no words," Isreal said.
The suspected gunman was taken into custody about a mile away from the school then transported to a hospital after his arrest. Israel said suspect is identified as Nikolaus Cruz, 19, a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who had been expelled for disciplinary reasons.
Israel said Cruz had "countless magazines" on him and the weapon used was an AR-15 rifle.
Freshman Kayden Hanafi said he heard two gunshots and saw people running out of another building on campus. Initially, most people though the sounds were firecrackers or an active shooter drill. Then, Hanafi and others went to lockdown in a classroom.
"It's really a blessing to still be alive," he said.
Aerial footage from WSVN showed a number of people lying on the ground outside the school, being treated for injuries and moved to ambulances. As students streamed away from the school, some ran while others walked quickly in orderly lines with their hands on or above their heads.
Nicole Baltzer, 18, said she was in trigonometry class about 10 minutes before the end of the school day when the fire alarm went off. As students evacuated, she heard six gunshots and everyone started running back inside the school, Baltzer told CNN's Sara Ganim.
"I heard so many gunshots, at least like six. They were very close," Baltzer said.
Baltzer said she is still on lockdown in a classroom on the second floor. Her stepsister is also on lockdown in a different classroom, she said.
"Everyone just started freaking out," a student told CNN affiliate WSVN.
"We all thought it was a fire drill because we had one previously today," he said. "And we thought it was, so no one was that nervous, but then word started going around that it was shots and not just, like, something else, everyone just started running towards the canal."
Lissette Rozenblat told CNN that her daughter safely evacuated the school and was taking shelter at a nearby Walmart.
"She was very nervous, she said that she could hear the person who was shot crying out for help, and was just a nervous wreck," Rozenblat said.
Agents from the Miami office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are responding to the scene, a spokesman said.
Parkland is a city of more than 20,000 people outside Boca Raton in Broward County, Florida. Stoneman Douglas High School had an enrollment of about 3,100 students in the 2015-16 year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.