A man opened fire at a high school in Parkland, Fla., on Wednesday, killing at least 17 people, according to law enforcement.
“‘I’m saddened to say that 17 people lost their lives’ – Sheriff Scott Israel,” the Broward County Sheriff’s Office tweeted on Wednesday evening.
The gunman, identified as 19-year-old Nicolas Cruz, was apprehended about an hour after shots were reported at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Officials said earlier in the day that there were “at least 14 victims” who were being transported to Broward Health Medical Center and Broward Health North hospital following the mass shooting.
Broward County Public Schools Supt. Robert Runcie had confirmed that there were fatalities to reporters at the scene.
“There are fatalities that are involved. We can’t confirm the number at this point,” he said. “There are numerous fatalities. It’s a horrific situation. It’s just a horrible day for us.”
Israel said the suspect in custody is a former student at the high school.
“He was taken into custody I believe about an hour after he left Stoneman Douglas, after he committed this horrific, homicidal, detestable act,” Israel said. “The FBI and our crime scene people will be investigating this horrific scene as soon as the buildings are clear. Right now, the buildings are not safe enough to be cleared.”
Law enforcement responded to reports of an “active shooter”-situation shortly before 3 p.m. ET, writing “#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.”
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was placed under lockdown following the reports of shots fired.
Dozens of law enforcement vehicles and officers were on site as students and teachers frantically ran for safety. Agents from the Miami office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also responded to the scene.
Broadcast networks broke into regularly-scheduled programming with live coverage of the tragedy.
President Donald Trump quickly took to Twitter to offer his condolences.
“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,” Trump tweeted.
The tragedy marks one of the deadliest U.S. school shootings of all time. The 1927 Bath School massacre was the most fatal in the nation, leaving 38 elementary school children and six adults dead. More recently, 32 people were killed during the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007, and 27 died during the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012.