By Madeline Farber, ,
Published February 28, 2018
A gunman set off fire alarms at a Florida high school on Feb. 14, luring hundreds of students out of their classrooms so he could open fire with a semi-automatic AR-15 assault rifle.
After firing several rounds, the shooting suspect, identified as 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, dropped his weapon and hid among the crowd as authorities evacuated students and faculty members from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Police captured Cruz over an hour later in Coral Springs, located about a mile away. He was taken to a local hospital and then released into police custody.
Cruz has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder. Fourteen others were wounded in the shooting, including several with life-threatening injuries.
Below is a timeline of events that detail how the shooting unfolded.
Cruz was picked up by an Uber, before he was dropped off at the high school at 2:19 p.m., a Wednesday timeline from the Broward County Sheriff’s Office showed.
Cruz went into Building 12’s east stairwell with a rifle in a case, according to the timeline. He goes "through all three floors, shooting several students and faculty inside the classrooms and hallways of the building."
Cruz got out and ran in the direction of tennis courts before going south, according to the sheriff’s office. At 2:29 p.m., it said he crossed a field and ran west with other people.
Students reportedly were texting about a shooter at the school.
Cruz went into a Walmart and purchased a drink at a Subway inside and left the store, per the sheriff’s office timeline.
Deputies responded to reports of a shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office confirmed in a tweet.
WSVN, a local news station, reported that there were at least five people injured at the school.
The sheriff’s office warned the public to “avoid the area of Stoneman Douglas HS” as authorities investigated reports of an active shooter.
The Broward County Sheriff's Office timeline said Cruz went to a McDonald’s, sat down briefly and left.
A student shared a photo to Twitter to show where he and other students were hiding.
The sheriff’s office tweeted the shooter was still at large.
Broward Schools said the school was on lockdown after students and faculty heard what sounded like gunfire.
Broward Schools began dismissing students from the school.
“We are receiving reports of possible multiple injuries,” the school district tweeted. “Law enforcement and the District’s Special Investigative Unit are currently on site.”
A Coconut Creek police officer detained Cruz in Coral Springs, the timeline indicated, adding that detectives with the sheriff's office performed a show-up procedure.
President Trump tweeted about the shooting, offering his “prayers and condolences.”
The shooter was taken into custody, the sheriff’s office confirmed in a tweet, warning that the scene was still active.
The sheriff’s office tweeted there were at least 14 “victims,” who “have been and continue to be transported to Broward Health Medical Center and Broward Health North hospital.”
The suspected shooter was taken to a local hospital.
Florida Sen. Bill Nelson said there were "a number of fatalities."
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel confirmed the shooter was not a current student at Stoneman Douglas High School.
In a separate tweet, the sheriff’s office said SWAT teams were still clearing the school.
Students started to reunite with their parents.
Israel said 17 people were killed in the shooting.
The sheriff’s office identified the shooting suspect as 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz.
A local news reporter for WSVN tweeted a photo of the suspect being detained by police.
Trump urged the public to always report suspicious behavior to authorities.
“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,” Trump tweeted. “Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!”
Cruz was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder, Israel announced in a news conference.
Trump addressed the nation, describing the massacre as a “scene of terrible violence, hatred, and evil."
He vowed to work with state and local leaders to help “secure our schools and tackle the difficult issue of mental health.”
Cruz made a court appearance on 17 counts of murder. The judge ordered him to be held without bond.
Cruz confessed to arriving at the high school with an AR-15 rifle and a backpack of "additional loaded magazines" and told investigators he shot "students that he saw in the hallways and on school grounds," according to an arrest affidavit.
Cruz may plead guilty to avoid the death penalty, his lawyer reportedly said Friday.
President Trump and first lady Melania visited Broward Health North Hospital in Florida, where many of the shooting victims were treated.
Cruz arrived at a Fort Lauderdale courtroom for a hearing. During the hearing, a judge ruled that already-sealed documents would remain that way, WPTV reported.
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel announced that "qualified and trained" sheriff's deputies will now carry rifles, including AR-15s, on school grounds in an effort to "defeat any threat that comes to campus."
Trump met with students and parents who have been affected by various school shootings.
Israel announced that school resource Deputy Scot Peterson was "on campus for this entire event."
"He was armed, he was in uniform," Israel said of the deputy. "After seeing video, witness statements and Scot Peterson's very own statement, I decided this morning to suspend Scot Peterson without pay pending an internal investigation." He added, Peterson instead resigned and retired.
The sheriff said Peterson should have "went in, addressed the killer, killed the killer." He believes Peterson stayed outside of the building "for upwards of four minutes." He confirmed the shooting lasted six minutes.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced on Friday a $500 million "action plan" in response to the deadly shooting on Feb. 14.
The plan is divided into three parts. The first, Scott said, is to keep guns away from dangerous and violent people. The second is a $450 million proposal to keep schools safe. And the third, according to Scott, is a $50 million proposal to expand mental health care initiatives in the state.
More specifically, the plan proposes to raise the minimum age to purchase a gun to 21, ban mentally ill people from buying a gun and place at least one law enforcement officer at every school.
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported that, according to police sources, at least three Broward deputies, including Peterson, waited outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during the massacre.
"BSO detectives are investigating the claim from the Coral Springs Police Department that some deputies did not go into the school when they should have," the Broward Sheriff's Office tweeted.
Students and parents attended a voluntary orientation on Sunday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., according to Broward County Public Schools.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High reopened Wednesday morning for classes for the first time since the shooting. The school is open on a modified schedule, from 7:40 to 11:40 a.m.
“I’m a little nervous, but we have to get back so we can get some sense of normalcy,” 14-year-old Bradley Golab, who was in the building where the shooting occurred, told the Sun Sentinel. “We’re just going to try to support each other.”
Teachers arrived back to campus on Monday, and some students had already returned to the school for a voluntary orientation on Sunday. Building 12 at the high school, where the shooting took place, will most likely remain closed.
Fox News’ Shira Bush, Robert Gearty, Kathleen Joyce, Katherine Lam, Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Zoe Szathmary and The Associated Press contributed to this report.