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Florida community seeks answers after 17 killed in school rampage

From Reuters - February 15, 2018

PARKLAND, Fla. (Reuters) - A Florida community will join together on Thursday to mourn the 17 victims of a suspected lone gunman as officials seek to discover how the heavily armed teenager managed to mingle with students before one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history.

The ex-student, identified as Nikolas Cruz, 19, walked into the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Wednesday shortly before classes ended and opened fire on students and teachers, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said.

Cruz was being held on 17 counts of premeditated murder, according to the Broward County Sheriffs website. It was not known when he would appear in court.

Cruz was armed with an AR-15-style rifle and had multiple ammunition magazines when he surrendered to officers in a nearby residential area, police said. He loved guns and was expelled for unspecified disciplinary reasons, police and former classmates said.

The shooting was the 18th in a U.S. school this year, according to gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety.

It was the deadliest ever at an American high school, surpassing the 1999 rampage at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, where two teenagers killed 12 students and a teacher and then themselves.

It was also the second deadliest at a U.S. public school, after the 2012 massacre of 20 first-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. The gunman also killed his mother and himself.

Since Sandy Hook, U.S. schools have installed electronically controlled doors and added security staff.

Our focus at the school district is certainly to find out from a safety perspective whats occurred, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High board member Donna Korn told Treasure Coast, a local newspaper group.

A law enforcement officer is assigned to every school in the district. The sheriffs office also provides active shooter training and schools have a single point of entry, she said.

Weve got the people prepared. We have prepared the campuses, but sometimes people still find a way to let these horrific things happen, Korn said.

Asked about having armed guards at school entrances, Israel told a news conference: If a person is predisposed to commit such a horrific act ... there not a lot law enforcement or any entity can do about it.

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