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CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. — Several people were killed and multiple people were injured when a former student opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida on Wednesday, prompting a massive police response and manhunt as frightened students hid in their classrooms.
The Broward Sheriff’s Department said there were “at least 14” people transported to the hospital with varying degrees of injuries. Multiple people were killed, sheriff Scott Israel said.
“It’s catastrophic, there really are no words,” said Israel.
CBS News has confirmed that the suspect has been identified as Nicolas Cruz, 19. A law enforcement source briefed on the shooting said the suspect appears to have pulled the school fire alarm, causing chaos, and then started shooting, reports CBS News news senior investigative producer Pat Milton.
The suspect, who had “at one time” attended the school but was no longer enrolled, was taken into custody without incident off campus, Israel said. He didn’t know why the suspect left the school. The suspect is about 18 years old, according to Israel.
A male that fit the description of the suspect was seen being taken into custody, CBS News’ Jeff Pegues reports. He was later transported to the hospital and seen being wheeled into the facility on a gurney.
Broward County Schools superintendent Robert Runcie said there were numerous fatalities, but couldn’t confirm the number. He called it a “horrific situation.”
“It’s just a heartbreaking tragedy,” Runcie said.
Runcie said the shooter entered the school during dismissal. Israel said the shooter was outside and inside the school at various times. Runcie said there was no warning or threats made before the incident.
Some of the current students told authorities they knew the suspect, Milton reports. Student Brandon Minoff, speaking with CBSN, said he had had classes with the suspected shooter. Minoff described the suspect as a “strange kid.”
Ambulances converged on the scene as emergency workers appeared to be treating possibly wounded people on the sidewalks.
Television footage showed police in olive fatigues, with weapons drawn, entering the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, then dozens of children frantically running and walking quickly out. A police officer waved the students on, urging them to quickly evacuate the school.
Some students exited the building in single-file rows with hands raised overhead to show they carried no weapons. Others held onto other students as they made their way out past helmeted police in camouflage with weapons drawn.
Emergency medical personnel pulled stretchers from the backs of ambulances as police cars surrounded the parking lot. At least one person was seen being wheeled to the ambulance on a gurney.
Noah Parness, a 17-year-old junior, said the fire alarm went off for the second time of the day about 2:30 p.m. He said he and the other students calmly went outside to their fire drill areas when he suddenly heard several pops.
“Everyone was kind of just standing there calm, and then we saw a bunch of teachers running down the stairway, and then everybody shifted and broke into a sprint,” Parness said. “I hopped a fence.”
Student Jeiella Dodoo described a chaotic scene as students fled. She said she hurt her toe while jumping a fence. She heard from a friend that people were being loaded into ambulances.
“That’s when we knew it was really real, there was an actual shooter on campus,” Dodoo told CBS News.
Parent Caesar Figeuroa told CBS News his daughter was hiding in a closet and afraid to speak on the phone. He said they have been texting. The girl said she heard gunfire and the window blew, and she screamed and ran in the closet with her friend. She told Figeuroa she heard everyone screaming and running.
She said three students were shot in the classroom next to her. She was no longer hearing gunfire, Figeuroa said.
He said it was like a “war zone” with the police response.
“It’s the worst nightmare not hearing from my daughter for 20 minutes, it was the longest 20 minutes of my life,” Figeuroa said.
Another parent, Beth Feingold, says her daughter sent a text at 2:32 p.m. saying “We’re on code red. I’m fine.” But she then sent another text soon afterward saying, “Mom, I’m so scared.” The girl was later able to escape the school unharmed.
Len Murray’s 17-year-old son, a junior at the South Florida high school where shooting was reported, sent his parents a chilling text: “Mom and Dad, there have been shots fired on campus at school. There are police sirens outside. I’m in the auditorium and the doors are locked.”
Those words came at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday. A few minutes later, he texted again: “I’m fine.”
Murray raced to the school only to be stopped by authorities under a highway overpass within view of the school buildings in Parkland.
No information was immediately given to parents, Len Murray says. And he says he remained worried for all those inside.
“I’m scared for the other parents here. You can see the concern in everybody’s faces. Everybody is asking, ‘Have you hard from your child yet?'”
The FBI said it was on the scene and assisting local law enforcement. ATF agents from the Miami Field Division are also responding to the scene.
The White House said President Trump has been briefed on the shooting and is monitoring the situation. The White House said President Trump has been briefed on the shooting and is monitoring the situation. Mr. Trump expressed his condolences in a tweet Wednesday afternoon, adding that “no child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school.”
This is a developing story and will be updated.