Gunfire rang out across the campus of a High School in Parkland, Florida on the afternoon of Wednesday, February 14th. A teen gunman accused of opening fire with a semi-automatic rifle at his former high school was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.
Authorities said the suspect, identified as orphaned 19 year old Nikolas Cruz, had fled the high school after the shooting incident by concealing himself in the crowd of students fleeing Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. He was later arrested in nearby Coral Springs.
In addition to the 17 killed, including a teacher and a football coach, there were 14 others wounded. Five with life-threatening injuries according to hospital officials.
What We Know
Suspect identified and arrested. Nikolas Cruz was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder. Court scheduled for Thursday.
- Cruz is believed to have used an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle.
- President Donald Trump has tweeted that there were “many signs the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed.”
- The weapon was purchased legally about a year ago.
- Authorities have not released any details about a possible motive other than to say that Cruz had been expelled from the school.
- There are about 3,000 students in the high school and students have been quoted describing Cruz as a volatile teen whose strange behavior had caused others to end friendships with him.
- Cruz’s mother Lynda dies of pneumonia on November 1, 2017. Her husband had died of a heart attack several years ago.
- Cruz was taken into custody without a fight about an hour after the shooting in a neighborhood about a mile away from the high school.
- He had multiple magazines of ammunition.
Football Coach Dies Trying to Keep Kids Safe
Aaron Feis, the beloved football coach of The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was seen by witnesses shielding students as the gunman opened fire inside of the high school. The school’s football team confirmed Aaron’s death on Twitter early Thursday morning.
“It is with great sadness that our Football Family has learned about the death of Aaron Feis. He was our Assistant Football Coach and security guard. He selflessly shielded students from the shooter when he was shot. He died a hero and he will forever be in our hearts and memories.”
According to one witness, Feis was seen jumping “in front of bullets to save some students lives.”
Aaron Feis was an alumni of the school who graduated in 1999. He is survived by his wife Melissa and a daughter.
Hiding In The Closet
Another brave teacher, Melissa Falkowski heard that there was an active shooter on campus and per some previous training, she sprang into action. She hid 19 students along with herself in a closet in her classroom where they waited for 30 minutes until they heard SWAT officers securing the classroom. Melissa credited her recent active shooter training for her success in saving lives.
She was quoted saying, “We could not have been more prepared for this situation, which is what makes it so frustrating. We did everything that we were supposed to do. Broward County Schools has prepared us for this situation and to still have so many causalities, at least for me, it’s very emotional. Because I feel today that our government, our country has failed us and failed our kids and didn’t keep us safe.”