At Least 17 Dead After Shooting At Florida High School
ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:
This afternoon, a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. Officials say 17 people were killed - students and adults. Police have a suspect in custody, a former student. NPR's Greg Allen is in Florida and covering the shooting for us. Hi, Greg.
GREG ALLEN, BYLINE: Hi, Ari.
SHAPIRO: Tell us about the person in custody.
ALLEN: Well, his name is Nikolas Cruz. As you say, he's a former student. I believe he's 19 years old. We are told that he was expelled from the high school there for disciplinary reasons and went to an alternative school for a while. One of the students who knew him there and also was going to Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School told channel - TV station WSVN that he had a - Cruz had an obsession with guns and that he liked to use them as therapy and showed pictures to students about them. And so he had kind of a reputation for this. That was kind of alluded to, I think, somewhat by some of the authorities today. His social media shows a lot of interest in guns and target practice and that kind of thing. So it's kind of a troubled person.
SHAPIRO: Where did police find him today?
ALLEN: Well, you know, the shooting happened around 2:35 at the school. That's where it all happened. But he was not found at the school. He left. And police found him some distance away - less than a mile away. And they apprehended him, they say, without incident, took him into custody, took him into the hospital for examination and then took him to the sheriff's office and then to the lockup.
SHAPIRO: What do we know about the kinds of weapons he had?
ALLEN: Well, it was an AR-15 - is what we're told by the Broward Sheriff's Office - and that he had multiple magazines. They said countless magazines. But clearly a lot. We also hear from Senator Bill Nelson via the - from the FBI via Senator Bill Nelson that he had a gas mask and smoke grenades. But we don't hear any indication that he used those in his rampage in the school today.
SHAPIRO: We've been talking throughout the show with students and parents. We know that at least 17 people have died and more have been injured. Can you give us any details about the victims?
ALLEN: Right. The number was shocking, I think, for all of us who've been watching this and had hoped that there would be many fewer than that. But 17 is a lot. We're told that 12 of the victims were found inside the building. Two of the victims, the sheriff's office say, were found outside the building. One was out on the street. And then many people were taken to the hospital. Two died at the hospital at the Broward North trauma center. So terrible toll there - 17 people.
SHAPIRO: And night is falling in Florida. What is happening at the school now?
ALLEN: Well, the school is, of course - the teams are going over that. And they'll probably be doing that for some hours yet - going through the crime scene and documenting, taking evidence. All of the students, of course, were evacuated. Students are still being reunited with their parents at a nearby pick-up center. And you have some parents with the agony of - haven't talked to their students - their children - yet and wondering what could be the case there. And that said, we have some people still in surgery. There was at least three people in critical condition. And those surgeries were going on as we speak.
SHAPIRO: That's NPR's Greg Allen, who's covering the shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School for us in South Florida. Thank you, Greg.
ALLEN: You're welcome.
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