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jueves, 15 de febrero de 2018

Report: School shooter set off fire alarm to push children into the hallways

In one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history, Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, allegedly opened fire on his former classmates and teachers on Wednesday, leaving 17 dead and more than a dozen wounded.

While law enforcement is still investigating the incident, new details have continued to emerge that reveal the shooter’s deadly plan, including a chilling announcement from Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.): according to the senator, Cruz set off the fire alarm “so the kids would come out into the hallways,” making them easier targets.

Cruz was charged on Thursday with 17 counts of premeditated murder, and is being held at Broward County Jail.

Shooter Reportedly Set Off Fire Alarm

According to students and teachers, the Parkland, Florida, high school had practiced a fire drill on Wednesday morning, so when the alarm sounded again near the end of the school day, many thought it was odd. Jim Gard, a math teacher for more than three decades, told NBC that he instructed his class to wait instead of heading out into the hallways.

Soon after, an administrator informed everyone to “evacuate the building,” but then a second announcement transpired: “code red.”

Most of his students fled the classroom, according to Gard, but he and the remaining students turned off the lights, hid in the closet, and waited, which is what “you’re supposed to do in a code red — you know, an active shooter.”

A similar story was conveyed by Melissa Falkowski, an English and journalism teacher at the high school. When the fire alarm sounded, she and her students evacuated, but then quickly returned to the classroom when the code red was announced.

Falkowski and her students shielded themselves in a closet.

Both Gard and Falkowski’s students were all accounted for and safe by the end of the day Thursday.

Students Knew Cruz Was a “Troubled” Kid

Students who were interviewed following Wednesday’s massacre recognized Cruz as being “a little bit off.” Eddie Bonilla, a senior at the high school, said that Cruz was a “little bit off” and was a “troubled” kid.

Julien Decoste, also a high school senior, averred that the suspect was “not the best kid.” Daniel Huerfano, another student who escaped the shooting, said Cruz “was that weird kid that you see…like a loner.”

Students also said that Cruz bragged about shooting his guns “for fun,” and even “threatened to bring the guns to school multiple times.” The shooter’s social media pages were filled with photos of Cruz covering his face with a gun, posts about killing animals, and talk of target practice in his backyard.

Students recalled saying in jest that, “he’d be the one to shoot up the school.”

“We didn’t have any warnings”

Despite his social media activity, officials say there weren’t any warning signs that Cruz would perform an attack of this nature. Broward County schools superintendent, Robert Runcie, told the press:

Typically you see in these situations that there potentially could have been signs out there. I would be speculating at this point if there were, but we didn’t have any warnings. There weren’t any phone calls or threats that we know of that were made.

Runcie did confirm on Wednesday that Cruz had been expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School for disciplinary reasons, and was transferred to a different school in the district.

In the time since the shooting, local law enforcement officials like Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel have advocated that students and neighbors of similarly “troubled” individuals speak up and alert appropriate authorities with concerns.

“If you see something, say something,” Israel warned.

His sentiment was echoed by national lawmakers like President Donald Trump, who tweeted:

So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School will be closed on Thursday and Friday.