US police officers are on the scene at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida after receiving reports of gunfire within the school. The Margate Fire Department told local media that between 20 and 50 people are wounded or worse. One person is confirmed dead.
Local police departments have told reporters a person of interest is in custody, but it is not clear whether there are more than one assailants. The school was on lock down for at least an hour while police officers and SWAT teams flooded in. The Broward Sheriff’s Office stated at 4:15 p.m. local time that the shooter was in custody.
”Many people have been killed,” said US Senator Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat. “It is quite alarming, but it appears there are a number of fatalities in this terrible tragedy.” The local school superintendent confirmed “there are numerous fatalities” but was not able to specify a number.
A slew of ambulances were present at the high school, and several people have been seen being taken out of the school perimeter on stretchers.
The Broward Sheriff Office said: “Here’s what we know so far: deputies are responding to reports of a shooting at Stoneman Douglas High. There are reports of victims.”
In the first 45 days of 2018 the US has experienced 18 school shootings. The tragedies have occurred so frequently that activists say the incidents have numbed Americans to the regularity of gun violence.
Nearly 300 school shootings have occurred since 2013, equivalent to about one per week.
Some students have been filed out of the building, where parents are waiting. There are about 3,200 students enrolled at the school.
“The President has been made aware of the school shooting in Florida,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters said. “We are monitoring the situation. Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected.”
Florida Governor Rick Scott has been in contact with the police at the scene as well.
“This doesn’t happen in peer nations. It is morally reprehensible that we continue to allow it in ours,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in America.
Trump sent “prayers and condolences” to families affected by the “terrible” shooting in a tweet. Many people have said that thoughts and prayers have accomplished little in reducing the number and severity of school shootings.
More details to follow.