A heavily armed 19-year-old who had been expelled from a South Florida high school opened fire on campus shortly before classes let out Wednesday, killing 17 people.Sending hundreds of students fleeing into the streets in the nation’s deadliest school shooting since a gunman attacked an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.
The shooter, who was equipped with a gas mask and smoke grenades, set off a fire alarm to draw students out of classrooms shortly before the day ended at one of the state’s largest schools, officials said.
Students who knew the shooter, identified as Nikolas Cruz, described a volatile teenager whose strange behavior had caused others to end friendships with him, particularly after the fight that led to his expulsion.
In news conferences after the incident, Sheriff Scott Israel said 12 of the people who died were found inside the school building and two were found just outside. Another victim was on the street, and two people died at the hospital.
President Trump has tweeted condolences for the victims and their families.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced that Wednesday’s press briefing would be cancelled in light of the shooting.
Police said he was armed with an AR-15-style, semiautomatic rifle and “countless” magazines.