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Florida shooting: Nikolas Cruz held on 17 murder counts

Florida shooting: Nikolas Cruz held on 17 murder counts
From Al Jazeera - February 15, 2018

Police in the US state of Florida has charged a 19-year-old suspected of shooting students and adults at his former school with 17 counts of premeditated murder.

The man, identified as Nikolas Cruz, was accused on Thursday of opening fire the previous day at a high schoolin the town of Parkland, inone of thedeadliest mass shootingsin modern US history.

Authorities warned late on Wednesday that the death toll could rise, as some of the 15 wounded people were in critical condition and undergoing surgery.

Police saidCruzhad been expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High Schoolfordisciplinary problems.

He was taken into custody shortly after the shooting.

Officials said the gunman began shooting outside the school at about 2:40pm local time (19:40 GMT) on Wednesday. Some students believed a fire drill was taking place.

The attacker, armed with a semiautomatic AR-15 rifle, a gas mask, smoke grenades and "multiple magazines" of ammunition, entered the school and continued his rampage.

Those inside the school can be heard yelling "Oh my God!" as shots rang out in videos circulating on social media.

A student told local media he had to wait in a closet while the school was under a "code red" lockdown.

"I was just in disbelief. I was texting my friends and my family," the student told WPTV-TV, an NBC affiliate in West Palm Beach, Florida,after being evacuated from the school.

"I did not believe it was actually happening," he said.

The gunman then fled the scene and was taken into custody about an hour later in a neighbouring city, officials said.

AJ (@ajplus) February 15, 2018

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