PARKLAND, Fla. (AP/Meredith) — 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, and police warned that the shooter was still at large. School officials said they had received reports of multiple injuries.
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.
Len Murray’s 17-year-old son, a junior at the school, sent his parents a chilling text around 2:30pm: “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.”
A few minutes later, he texted again: “I’m fine.”
At least 20 people have been injured in the shooting, according to Miami’s WSVN, who reported Margate Fire Rescue had deemed the shooting a mass casualty incident.
Broward County Sheriff’s Office says at least 14 people have been shot and transported for medical attention.
So far we have at least 14 victims. Victims have been and continue to be transported to Broward Health Medical Center and Broward Health North hospital. #StonemanShooting
— Broward Sheriff (@browardsheriff) February 14, 2018
The superintendent of Broward County Public Schools said there had been “numerous fatalities.”
Senator Bill Nelson told CNN that sources had told him there were “a number of fatalities,” but was not at liberty to specify further.
The Broward County Sheriff’s Office tweeted that a shooter was taken into custody and the scene was still active.
#BSO is working a developing incident regarding a report of active shooter located at 5901 Pine Island Rd, Parkland. Here’s what we know so far: deputies are responding to reports of a shooting at Stoneman Douglas High. There are reports of victims. PIO will be on scene 3:15pm.
— Broward Sheriff (@browardsheriff) February 14, 2018
Aerial video from WSVN showed police taking a subject into custody, but it is unknown if the person being arrested is a suspect.
Broward Schools tweeted more details of how the incident unfolded. Students and staff heard what sounds like gunfire just before dismissing for the day and went immediately into lockdown.
Today, close to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s dismissal, students and staff heard what sounded like gunfire. The school immediately went on lockdown but is now dismissing students. We are receiving reports of possible multiple injuries. Law enforcement is on site.
— Broward Schools (@browardschools) February 14, 2018
Emergency medical personnel pulled stretchers from the backs of ambulances as police cars surrounded the parking lot of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. It wasn’t immediately clear how many people were wounded.
Ambulances converged in front of the school, and TV news broadcasts showed at least one person being wheeled to an ambulance on a gurney. Live footage also showed emergency workers appearing to treat possibly wounded people on the sidewalks. It wasn’t immediately clear how many were wounded. The Broward County Sheriff’s Office tweeted that the shooter was still at large even as the evacuation was underway.
Television footage showed police in olive fatigues, with weapons drawn, entering the school, then dozens of children frantically running and walking quickly out. A police officer waved the students on, urging them to quickly evacuate. 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.
The Broward Schools department said on its website that it had received reports of “possible multiple injuries” and was dismissing students. The department said students and staff heard what sounded like gunfire and the school immediately went on lockdown.
Murray said he raced to the school only to be stopped by authorities under a highway overpass within view of the school buildings. He said he told his son to save his battery and stop texting, while the boy’s mother told him to turn off his ringer.
No information has been provided yet to parents, he said. “I’m scared for the other parents here. You can see the concern in everybody’s faces. Everybody is asking, ‘Have you heard from your child yet?'” Murray said.
Murray said he’s had just one thought running through his mind since he got his son’s text: “All I keep thinking about is when I dropped him off this morning – I usually say, ‘I love you,’ and I didn’t think morning. He’s 17, he’s at that age, and I didn’t say it this morning, and I’m just kicking myself right now over and over and over. Say it early and often, I’m telling you.”
The high school is a sprawling complex set on a tract in the South Florida community of Parkland, about 45 miles (70 kilometers) north of downtown Miami.
The school had just over 3,100 students in the 2016-2017 academic year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Major streets run along two sides and an expressway passes nearby on the other not far from a residential neighborhood of single-family homes.
President Donald Trump tweeted his “prayers and condolences” for the families of victims of the shooting, and said no one should feel unsafe in a school in America.
My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting. No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 14, 2018
This story is developing and will be updated.