We are two months into the new year and there have already been eight shootings at schools that have resulted in injuries or deaths.
On Valentine’s day, Nikolas Cruz carried an AR-15 assault rifle into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. 17 innocent souls unfortunately were unable to survive the shots of the gunman.
Nikolas Cruz, age 19, was recently expelled from his former high school in Parkland, Florida as a senior for disciplinary reasons. He was known to be a ‘disturbed student’ as he had made threats about becoming a professional shooter before. FBI Special Agent, Rob Lasky said during a press conference after the shooting, “In 2017, the FBI received information about a comment made on a YouTube channel. The comment simply said, ‘I’m going to be a professional school shooter.’ No other information was included with that comment which would indicate a time, location or the true identity of the person who made the comment. The FBI conducted database reviews, checks, but was unable to further identify the person who actually made the comment.”
Cruz is an orphaned young adult who moved in with a new family after his mother’s passing in November of 2017. He kept guns in his room, took pictures of them and used social media to show his interests in weapons.
Valentine’s Day at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was no normal day. It had been a special day, actually. Carnations were being sold throughout the day as well as in the cafeteria. Laughs, hugs, and love filled the hallways as high school sweethearts were buying flowers for one another to make the day even more special. Fundraisers were taking place for the tennis team. Students were signing up for the National English Honor Society. Students were paying for their graduation ring. The day would go on but shorty prior to the last bell of the day, this high school in Parkland, Florida became the victim of one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history.
Schools in the United States are required to have annual fire drills during school hours. In the morning of the school day, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School had a fire drill. Little did they know, the fire alarm would be pulled again.
Confusion struck the students, as Nikolas Cruz activated the fire alarm near the east stairway where he had entered. The second fire alarm of the day? Why was this happening?
Cruz arrived at his former school at 2:19, after taking an Uber. He purposefully made his way toward the freshman building.
Pulling the fire alarm to draw the students into the hallway, Cruz took his AR-15 assault rifle out of his bag and began firing. He began walking through the halls as screams echoed the building.
A nightmare was occuring. Chaos had struck Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Cruz continued to fire into random classrooms, including killing a beloved member of the community who had jumped in front of students to save their life. Football coach and teacher, Aaron Feis, age 37 was struck by the gunman and later died on his way to the hospital. Friend of Aaron Feis, Denis Lehtio said, "He died the same way he lived -- he put himself second.” Former student of Mr. Feis, Colton Haab, a 17-year-old junior told a CNN reporter that he witnessed Mr. Feis running toward the sounds of gunshots.
Students were petrified. Cruz dropped his assault rifle along with his vest and then left the school and mixed in with other students who were fleeing the scene. He went to Walmart, purchased a drink at Subway, and then went to McDonald’s.
After exiting McDonald’s, nearly an hour and a half since the beginning of the shooting, Nikolas Cruz was arrested at 3:41 p.m. He had been identified as the shooter and was taken into police custody.
Seventeen fatalities. More than 12 others injured.
Shortly later, Nikolas Cruz was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.
After the shooting, President Donald Trump Tweeted, “My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting. No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school.”
If someone was to walk into LHS with a gun within the next thirty seconds, would you know what to do? Do you run? Do you hide? Do you save your classmate? Do you save yourself? There is no quick answer to preventing a tragedy like this, the only suggestion that can be made is to find safety and stay there until directions are given from the person in charge.