Alleged Florida gunman charged with killing at least 17 people

Published On February 15, 2018 | By | Crime, News

Chihiro Miya

Nikolas Cruz, 19, was charged with killing at least 17 people and injuring several others after Wednesday’s deadly shooting in Florida.

Valentine’s Day was bloodshed by a former Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student armed with an AR-15 rifle. Police said he gunned down the victims around 2:30 p.m., after he allegedly set off a fire alarm to send people outside.

As people were leaving the building, Cruz opened fire and followed others running back inside the building, officials said.

Nikolas Cruz appears in a police booking photo after being charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder following a Parkland school shooting, at Broward County Jail in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S. February 15, 2018. Broward County Sheriff/Handout via REUTERS. ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.

“I thought at the beginning this was all a drill, it was just a drill. Until I saw my teacher dead on the floor,” Kelsey Friend, a student who survived after the shooting told CNN.

She hid under her teacher’s desk with other students in the classroom, and found he was lying in the doorway.

“I believe that my teacher — the reason that he was lying in the doorway is because he protected us,” Friend said to CNN.

The Suspect

Cruz, a former student at the high school, was expelled for disciplinary problems the previous year.

He had lived with his adoptive mother, Lynda Cruz, until she died of pneumonia last November.

CNN reported that his social media included a variety of gun- and violence-related posts.

There were threatening comments under videos on YouTube and other sites, including  “I wanna shoot people with my AR-15”, “I wanna die Fighting killing s**t ton of people” and “I am going to kill law enforcement one day they go after the good people.”
CNN also said Cruz posted photos of a shotgun, a BB gun, his face with a kerchief and brandishing long knives on social media sites.

The Victims

According to Denise Lehtio, Communications Director with the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Varsity and JV Football Program, Assistant Football Coach Aaron Feis died at the hospital because of fatal injuries.

Lehtio said Feis threw himself in front of children who were shot by the suspect as a human shield.

“He died the same way he lived — he put himself second,” Lehtio said. “He was a very kind soul, a very nice man. He died a hero.”

 

Chris Hixon, the athletic director for the high school, was killed in yesterday’s shooting. Lehtio also told CNN that Hixon is the second faculty member victim of the high school.

Alyssa Ahadeff, 15, was one of the first student victims identified, the Miami Herald reported.

Martin Duque was also confirmed killed, according to a post on his older brother’s Instagram page.

Nicholas Dworet, a senior at the school who was also killed, had acquired a swimming scholarship to the University of Indianapolis, according to The Intercept.

Jamie Guttenberg — her father Fred Guttenberg confirmed her death in the shooting, and said on Facebook “I am broken as I write this trying to figure out how my family gets through this.”

Luke Hoyer — his great-aunt Toni Stroud Brownlee confirmed his death on Facebook. He was found on the third floor of the school.

Gina Montalto — Armando D. Sotero Jr., a high school classmate of Gina’s mother Jennifer, confirmed her death, and said on Facebook, “There are no words that will translate the pain and suffering that Jennifer and her family must be feeling.”

Joaquin Olivier —Olivier was born in Venezuela and moved to the United States when he was three years old. He got his American citizenship in Jan. 2017, the Miami Herald reported.

Alaina Petty — her great aunt Claudette McMahon Joshi wrote that 14-year-old was one of the victims in Florida.

Meadow Pollack —the Palm Beach Post reported that her father Andrew confirmed that his daughter was killed in the shooting.

Carmen Schentrup, a semi-finalist for the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program, was confirmed dead by her friends.

#FloridaSchoolShooting

A lot of people reacted the Florida’s shooting in Twitter with hashtag FloridaSchoolShooting.

Trump’s Statement

U.S. President Donald Trump also reacted after the shooting on Twitter.

“So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behaviour. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!” Trump also tweeted, focusing on Cruz’s mental health.

Trump also addressed the school shooting in a televised statement around noon on Thursday.

Cruz made his first court appearance on Thursday. He was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.

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