People wait for loved ones as they are brought out of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after the shooting.
Television footage showed police in olive fatigues, with weapons drawn, entering the school, then dozens of children frantically running and walking quickly out.
As a high school freshman, Cruz was part of the United States military-sponsored Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corp program at the school, according to Jillian Davis, 19, a recent graduate and former fellow Corp member.
The gunman surrendered to police without a struggle, Israel said. Cruz used an AR-15 rifle, obtained in the past year after passing a background check, and countless magazines.
The Broward Sheriff's Office is yet to release the identities of the other people who have died. "There really are no words".
County school Superintendent Robert Runcie said that the shooter was enrolled in a school elsewhere in the district. "There the carnage began", Nelson said.
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The sheriff said some people were in surgery Wednesday night.
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In news conferences after the incident, Sheriff Scott Israel said 12 of the people who died were found inside the school building and two were found just outside.
At least 17 dead and 20 receiving treatment for injuries sustained during a tragic shooting.
"He got kicked out of school past year, he always had guns on him and stuff like that so he was a little bit of a troubled kid, he always had jokes on it like that", the student said outside the school.
The bloodthirsty gunman, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, appears to have set off the fire alarm on goal to get as many students as possible into the hallways before he started blasting off shots, an NYPD source briefed on the matter told The News.
"He knows the layout of the school, he's been in the [shooting] drills multiple times, he knows where to go".
Nicole Baltzer, an 18-year-old student, was in trigonometry class when the fire alarm went off.
Students from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School evacuate the school following the mass shooting.
The 19-year-old suspect, Nikolas Cruz, is a troubled teenager who posted disturbing material on social media.
As news of the shooting spread, desperate parents gathered near the property searching for their children.