PARKLAND, Fla. (Reuters) – A shooter opened fire at a Florida high school on Wednesday, killing multiple people and sending hundreds of students fleeing into the streets before being taken into custody by law enforcement, authorities said.
The attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, about 45 miles (72 km) north of Miami occurred shortly before students were to be dismissed for the day, sending the school into lockdown with some students hiding in classrooms while police searched for a gunman.
The suspect was taken into custody on Wednesday afternoon, a Broward County sheriffâ€™s spokesman said. The spokesman would not say if the suspect was a student.
â€œThere are numerous fatalities. Itâ€™s a horrific situation,â€� Broward Country Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie told reporters. He said the school district had gotten no warning of a potential shooter and that there was no evidence of more than one shooter.
â€œWe have at least 14 victims,â€� the Broward County sheriffâ€™s office said on Twitter. It did not make clear if that number included people who were wounded in addition to the dead.
Students hid in classrooms until they were rescued by police in tactical gear, friends and family members said.
Students are evacuated from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during a shooting incident in Parkland, Florida, U.S. February 14, 2018 in a still image from video. WSVN.com via REUTERS
McKenzie Hartley, who identified herself as the sister of a student at the school described the scene in a text message to Reuters: â€œShe heard him shooting through the windows of classrooms and two students were shot.â€�
Panicked parents checked on their children.
â€œMy daughter, as of right now, sheâ€™s still trapped in a closet. Sheâ€™s afraid to speak,â€� a man who identified himself as Caesar Figueroa and said his daughter was inside the school, told CBS News.
â€œI told her, â€˜Donâ€™t call me, because I donâ€™t want no one to hear your voice.â€™ So, sheâ€™s still trapped in a closet in there.â€�
Live television showed dozens of students, weaving their way between law enforcement officers with heavy weapons and helmets, and large numbers of emergency vehicles including police cars, ambulances and fire trucks.
Florida Governor Rick Scott said on Twitter that had he had been in touch with local officials about the incident.
The shooting was the latest in a deadly series of attacks at U.S. schools. A 15-year-old gunman in January killed two students at a Benton, Kentucky, high school.
â€œMy prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting,â€� U.S. President Donald Trump said on Twitter. â€œNo child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school.â€�
Additional reporting by Dan Whitcomb and Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles, Letitia Stein in Detroit and Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas; Writing by Scott Malone; Editing by Tom Brown