Parkland suspect's 'disturbing' social media posts being dissected

Nikolas Cruz 19 was arrested after he stormed Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Wednesday afternoon armed with an assault rifle

The deadly gun rampage at a Florida high school on Wednesday took to 18 the number of school shootings across the United States so far this year - a phenomenon that authorities seem powerless to prevent.

"We didn't have any warnings, there weren't any phone calls or threats that we know of, that were made", Robert Runcie, Broward superintendent of schools, told reporters. The district will offer grief counseling to students and their families.

Victoria Olvera, a 17-year-old junior at the school, said Cruz was expelled last school year because he got into a fight with his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend. He is due in court Thursday.

"The president has been made aware of the school shooting in Florida", deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters said.

U.S. President Donald Trump said he would meet with governors this year to develop policies to improve school security and address mental health needs.

However, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School will remain closed Thursday and Friday, as the investigation continues.

Senator Bill Nelson told CNN that Cruz had pulled the fire alarm "so the kids would come pouring out of the classrooms into the hall".

The day before, a teenager was wounded by a shot fired in her school cafeteria in Texas.

One survivor, Kyle Yeoward, 16, a junior, told Reuters he and about 15 fellow students and a teacher hid in a closet for almost two hours before police arrived.

"We did everything that we were supposed to do".

But despite multiple accounts of Mr Cruz's threatening behaviour, officials say there had been no indication that the shooting would happen.

"As we rise this morning let us pray for the victims and families of this horrific tragedy that has fallen on our community", Runcie tweeted Thursday morning.

Kathie Blaine, a cousin of Cruz's mother, said he was adopted and she had never met him. Someone on the radio asked if loud sounds they heard were firecrackers, said football coach Willis May, who also carries a radio.

Law enforcement sources said the suspect used a.223 caliber, AR-15 style firearm in the shooting.

"It's really a blessing to still be alive", he said. The expert we spoke with says a lockdown could be the safest option for students in some active shooter situations - but not all.

"He told me how he got kicked out of two private schools".

If you see her please have her call her parents ASAP.

Footage posted on social media showed students cowering under desks in one classroom as gunshots rang out.

"We have been liberated".

The shooting in a community about 45 miles (72 km) north of Miami was the 18th in a US school this year, according to gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety, continuing a troubling pattern that has played out over the past few years. Some walked calmly with their hands up while others ran. "Law enforcement is on site", it said on Twitter. It was the deadliest school shooting in the United States since a gunman attacked an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, more than five years ago. Seventeen people, including the suspect, were sent to area hospitals, said Dr. Evan Boyar of Broward Health. Cruz's father had died more than a decade ago due to a heart attack.

"We saw a bunch of teachers running down the stairway, and then everybody shifted and broke into a sprint", Parness said. One died in the street and two died at the hospital, Israel said.

Parkland, with a population of 31,000 in 2016, was named Florida's safest city a year ago. The south Florida city had seven reported violent crimes and 186 property crimes the previous year, the analysis said. This is a developing story and will be updated.

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