By far the most tragic and most terrifying school shooting since Sandy Hook, the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High Dchool on February 14th, Valentine’s Day, has claimed 17 lives, threatened 14 more, and affected hundreds in the worst way possible. The shooting strikes scarily close to home; it occurred in Broward County, Florida, less than 200 miles from Lake Howell.
The shooter has been identified as Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old who is a former student of the high school. He entered the school around 2 in the afternoon, armed with an AR-15 assault rifle, a bulletproof vest, and a backpack full of ammunition. Shortly after he opened fire in the classrooms. He then dropped his gun and vest and ran out with the rest of the fleeing students, making his way to a nearby Walmart, where he purchased a drink from the Subway inside before continuing on to a McDonald’s. According to TIME, it was at the McDonald’s that Cruz was found, and taken into police custody without further incident. He has been arrested under 17 charges of premeditated murder.
Students have posted many photos and videos across social media of the shooting. There are text messages from students saying goodbye to their parents, footage of SWAT teams clearing out the classrooms, and photos of laptops with bullet holes through them and blood on the floors. 17 people were killed in total, 12 within the school and others outside the building, as well as two who died in hospitals. Sixteen others are being treated at local hospitals, 5 in critical condition but the rest expected to recover.
The shooting comes as a tragedy, but not necessarily a shock. Over the past few years, there have been more than 20 calls for sercice about both Cruz and his brother to be closely investigated. Additionally, a YouTube comment about “becoming a professional school shooter” has been linked to an account whose name is “nikolas cruz.” Many students and teachers have voiced their own fears about Cruz being capable of violence.
The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting is the 6th school shooting to result in injuries since the start of 2018. In total, there have been 17 incidents of firearms in schools this year. It is also the deadliest school shooting since Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012, which took 26 lives in total.
Written By: Rachel Smith
Image courtesy of Saul Martinez for The New York Times