On Wednesday afternoon, a 19-year-old male opened fire in the hallways of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, killing 17 people and seriously injuring 14 others. It was the third deadliest school shooting in American history.
Nikolas Cruz, who has confessed to the shooting, arrived at the school in an Uber at 2:19 p.m. According to reports from authorities, he pulled an AR-15 rifle out of a black duffle bag filled with loaded magazines and started firing inside five different classrooms.
After firing shots in and around the freshman building for about 20 minutes, Cruz left his gun and ammunition in a stairwell. He then exited the building, blending in amidst a crowd of fleeing students.
After Cruz fled the scene, he reportedly stopped at a Subway and a McDonald’s nearby. Police apprehended
Cruz walking along a residential street nearly an hour after the shots ceased.
After his mother died last year, Cruz moved in with another family and their son, who is a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas and was present during the shooting.
Cruz previously attended Marjory Stoneman Douglas but was expelled for disciplinary reasons. Former classmates describe Cruz as having a fascination with guns and knives.
According to Chief Assistant Public Defender Gordon Weekes, Cruz has a significant history of mental illness and is currently on suicide watch.
In September, the FBI received an alert about a YouTube user named “Nikolas Cruz” who commented on a video, “Im going to be a professional school shooter.” The FBI admitted that it failed to act on another tip concerning the same name in January.
Of the 17 victims, 14 were students, aged 14 to 18, and three were faculty members. At his court hearing, Cruz was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.
Tatiana Pincever, a Palm Beach Atlantic University student who attended Marjory Stoneman Douglas, has a younger brother who was on the scene during the shooting.
“We are all still in shock,” she said. “You think it would never happen somewhere like here.”
Pincever heard about the shooting from her sister who was talking to a friend hiding in a closet at the school. She knew two of the victims who were killed.
“Watching the names scroll across the screen and the numbers come out, that’s when you realize that it’s real,” Pincever said.
The attack has put schools all around the country on edge.
“It’s eye-opening because it is so close to home,” said PBA student Bekka Salowitz.
Florida Governor Rick Scott responded to news of the tragedy by called the shooting an act of “pure evil.”
President Trump addressed those who lost loved ones in a speech to the nation on Thursday.
“We are all joined together as one American family,” Trump said. “And your suffering is our burden also.”
Trump has plans to come to Florida on Friday to offer condolences to people in the Parkland community.
Multiple funerals and vigils were held for victims on Thursday and Friday, including services for Alyssa Alhadeff, 14, and Meadow Pollack, 18.
Classes for students of Marjory Douglas Stoneman resume next week. Pincever says it is unimaginable to think that life will continue after such a massacre.
Plans to tear down the building in which the shooting took place have been proposed by the school district, according to Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie.
“We have no choice but to get used to a new normal,” Pincever said. “But things will never be the same.”