UPDATED: Florida high school shooter in custody; injuries reported
PARKLAND, Fla. (AP) — A shooting at a Florida high school Wednesday sent students rushing out into the streets as SWAT team members swarmed in and locked down the building. Ambulances converged on the scene as emergency workers appeared to be treating possibly wounded people on the sidewalks.
Authorities say the shooter at a South Florida high school is now in custody.
The Broward County Sheriff’s Office gave no details in briefly tweeting that development. It did not identify the shooting suspect nor say how the person was taken into custody.
Television footage showed police putting a person in the back of a police car outside the high school.
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. It wasn’t immediately clear how many people were wounded.
Parent John Obin says his son, a freshman at the South Florida high school where the shooting erupted, says his child was in class when he heard several shots. The father says his son advised that teachers quickly rushed students out of the school. He adds the boy told his father that he walked by two people on the ground motionless — and apparently dead — as students rushed outside.
“This is a really good school, and now it’s like a war zone,” Obin said
Coral Springs Police said on their Twitter account Wednesday that Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was locked down and that students and teachers inside should remain barricaded until police reach them.
Outside, televised news footage showed two people on stretchers and another person being treated on the ground at an intersection near the scene of the school. Paramedics were treating those who appeared to be students with injuries, but it wasn’t clear how they were hurt. A few students were loaded into ambulances.
One unidentified student told a reporter at the scene that at first students thought it was a fire drill because they had heard fire alarms going off.
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?'”
Coral Springs Police said on their Twitter account Wednesday that the school was locked down and that students and teachers inside should remain barricaded until police reach them.
The Broward County Sheriff’s Office tweeted that the shooter was still at large even as the evacuation was underway.