A former student of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida has opened fire at the school. Nikolas Cruz, 19, was armed with at least one AR-15 rifle and had 'multiple magazines' when he attacked the school and killed 17 people with dozens more in hospital for their injuries. The teenager had been expelled from the school last year for a fight with his ex-girlfriend's current boyfriend and it is thought this could have something to do with why he chose the location for the attack. Cruz is understood to have entered the school and pulled the fire alarm to ensure students swarmed the hallways and to make his attack and eventual attempt to hide easier, as he fled the school after his rampage and attempted to hideout in a nearby neighbourhood.
Suspect Nikolas Cruz of Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida shooting pic.twitter.com/0Tx8DmI2sc— Brandi Saari (@brandilmelb) February 15, 2018
Traumatized students have spoken to news networks and taken to Twitter to admit that those who knew the shooter had long been worried he would do something like this. Once they heard reports of a mass shooting they immediately knew it was Cruz, who is said to be a "sketchy kid" with an obsession with guns and an Instagram account filled with pictures of him wielding weapons in disturbing poses. One teacher said he had been identified as a potential threat to his classmates last year, yet he's understood to have purchased a rifle last year after passing the requisite background checks. One Math teacher at the school told the Miami Herald "We were told last year that he wasn't allowed on campus with a backpack on him. There were problems with him last year threatening students and I guess he was asked to leave campus." and a classmate of Cruz added "[He] had mental health issues that were ignored by all the adults. He literally had an Instagram where he posted pictures of animals he killed gruesomely and he physically assaulted one of my friends once."
WARNING GRAPHIC: Inside Stoneman Douglas High School, #Parkland Florida Shooting.— James Parkley (@jnarls) February 14, 2018
Let this sink in and tell me it’s not time for sensible Gun Control. Save your thoughts and prayers. pic.twitter.com/WlJo1W8mKw
The attack began at 2.25pm, shortly before dismissal time, and some students chose to barricade themselves into their classrooms while others ran out of the building with their hands in the air. Police and SWAT teams quickly swarmed the school, finally catching the shooter at 4pm and taking him into custody. The incident comes just a few weeks after a 15-year-old boy opened fire at his rural Kentucky high school, killing two and injuring more than two dozen others. It is sure to spark conversation about the controversial issue of gun control in America, something advocates have been pushing for greater restrictions on for years. On February 15, just six weeks into the new year, the Parkland shooting is already the 18th school shooting of 2018.