Police investigating 'active shooter' at South Florida high school | World Defense

Police investigating 'active shooter' at South Florida high school

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Police investigating 'active shooter' at South Florida high school
By Danielle Haynes
Feb. 14, 2018


Feb. 14 (UPI) -- Law enforcement in South Florida on Wednesday said they were investigating reports of an "active shooter" and multiple victims at a high school.

The Broward County Sheriff's Office said the suspected shooting happened at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

WFOR-TV and WPLG-TV, both in Miami, reported emergency officials loaded multiple people on stretchers into ambulances.

"Avoid the area of Stoneman Douglas HS. #BSO is currently working a developing incident regarding a report of active shooter," the sheriff's office tweeted.
"Shooter still at large," a later tweet said.

The Coral Springs Police Department told students and teachers to "remain barricaded inside until police reach you."

This is a developing story.

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Hero football coach died shielding Florida students from gunfire

By Susan McFarland | Feb. 15, 2018



Feb. 15 (UPI) -- Two athletic coaches killed in Wednesday's school shooting in Florida are being hailed as a hero -- one for using his body to shield students from a hail of bullets.

Football coach Aaron Feis is among the 17 dead in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., which began Wednesday afternoon when a gunman arrived on the campus wielding an AR-15 assault rifle.

As the gunfire erupted, friends and students said Feis didn't hesitate to step in the line of fire.

"It didn't surprise me when I heard he jumped in front of a girl and shielded her from the shooter, it doesn't surprise me a bit that he did that," Stoneman Head Football Coach Willis May told UPI Thursday. "He has such love and concern for other people."

The school's athletic director and wrestling coach, Chris Hixon, was also shot and killed.

May said Hixson, like Feis, is also a hero because he ran toward the scene to try to help others to safety. He said the two also served as security guards at the school, and "when something goes down, they are the first ones to rush in."

May said he'd worked with Feis for five years and called him one of the kindest men he has ever known -- a great family man who deeply loved his wife and daughter and was very close to his family.

After hearing news of Feis' death, May began getting text messages from students. One read, "Tell me it's not true."

"The kids loved him ... he was a good person, they could trust him to tell them the truth. He could be hard on them but knew how to love them too," May said. "He had such a big heart. He was actually a big ole' teddy bear."

May had worked with Hixson for three years and spoke just as highly of him, saying "he had no fear."
"He was good to the kids," Mau said. "Like Feis, he was hard on them sometimes, but always fair."

More stories of heroism may come out of the massacre. May said one of the football players used a towel to wrap a student's wounded leg, which was bleeding heavily.

Thursday, May said he was still trying to come to grips with what happened -- recalling that after the fire alarm and CODE Red alert, he secured the physical education area, placed students and coaches in lock-down mode and went searching for the source of the gunfire.

"I heard the shots but couldn't get too close. There is a big courtyard area between the two buildings. I was trying to stay hidden while keeping my kids safe," he said.

May said it will be tough moving forward, but that he has confidence the school and community will heal.
"We can't let evil win, we just don't have a choice," he said. "It hurts right now. But this community is strong. Our admin and staff are strong and we still have four other coaches in the building who are strong.

"They'll make sure we come out of this and everybody pulls together to do what we've got to do."




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Nikolas Cruz: Accused school shooter had problems at home, school

By Sam Howard | Updated Feb. 15, 2018

Nikolas-Cruz-Accused-school-shooter-had-problems-at-home-school.jpg

Nikolas Jacob Cruz, 19, accused of killing 17 people at a South Florida high school on Wednesday was booked into the Broward County Sheriff's Office. Photo courtesy of Broward County Sheriff/UPI | License Photo


Feb. 15 (UPI) -- The former student accused of carrying out one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history had discipline problems at home and school, people who know him said.

Nikolas Cruz, 19, was being held without bond Thursday at the Broward County Jail, charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder. Authorities say he carried out the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., that killed 17 people and injured more than a dozen others.

Based on what they knew about Cruz, some said they weren't surprised.

"'If you were to pick one person you might predict in the future would shoot up a school or do this, it would be this kid,'" John Crescitelli told the Miami Herald, quoting his son, Daniel, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas.

Problems at home
Cruz and his biological brother, Zachary, lived with an adopted mother and father, who have died. Their mother, Lynda Cruz, died in November and their father, Roger Cruz, died years earlier.

Assistant public defender Melissa McNeill said the death of Cruz's mother was a breaking point for the teenager.
"He is a broken human being," McNeill said, to the Palm Beach Post reported. "He is a broken child."

Attorney Jim Lewis told the South Florida Sun Sentinel Nikolas Cruz moved in with a friend's family in northwest Broward County after his mother's death.

When he moved in, he brought a self-purchased AR-15 military-style rifle with him, Lewis said. The family had Cruz keep the firearm in a locked gun cabinet for which he had the key.

Family member Barbara Kumbatovich said Cruz had troubles, but downplayed the seriousness of any emotional problems.
"I know she had been having some issues with them, especially the older one. He was being a problem. I know he did have some issues and he may have been taking medication," Kumbatovich said of the mother. She "kept a really close handle on both boys. They were not major issues, as far as I know, just things teenagers do, like not coming home on time, maybe being disrespectful."

Onetime neighbor Shelby Spano said Nikolas Cruz once threw eggs at her husband's car. Another time, he shot at another neighbor's chickens.

Police responded to the Cruz home a number of times, she recalled. Nikolas Cruz, though, has no prior criminal convictions as an adult in Broward County.
"I told my husband I was so glad they moved. I'm afraid he was the kind of kid who would do something crazy," Shelby said. "The older he gets, the worse kind of trouble he got into."

Trouble at school
Cruz had been expelled from the high school for an undisclosed reason, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said.

Math teacher Jim Gard told the Herald he thought staff at the school were previously warned about Cruz over his threats against students. Gard added that Cruz wasn't allowed to wear a backpack while at school.

A former classmate told CBS Miami that students joked Cruz was the type to carry out a school shooting.
"We actually, a lot of kids threw jokes around ... saying that he's the one to shoot up the school, but it turns out everyone predicted it," Eddie Bonilla said. "It's crazy."

Another classmate, 16-year-old Joshua Charo, said Cruz was quiet, but when he did speak, "all he would talk about is guns, knives and hunting."

Cruz was at one point a member of the school's JROTC program, classmates said.

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Florida high school shooting victims: Who they were

By Danielle Haynes | Updated Feb. 16, 2018


(UPI) -- The Broward County Sheriff's Office on Thursday afternoon released the full list of the 17 victims of this week's deadly school shooting in South Florida.

Sheriff Scott Israel read the names of the victims at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., one-by-one during an afternoon news conference. UPI, The Sun Sentinel, CNN, The Miami Herald and The New York Times compiled profiles of the dead:

Alyssa Alhadeff, 14, was a skilled member of the Parkland Travel Soccer team. Her mother, Lori Alhadeff, remembered her on Facebook.
"My Daughter Alyssa was killed today by a horrific act of violence. I just sent her to school and she was shot and killed. Alyssa was a talented soccer player, so smart, an amazing personality, incredible creative writer, and all she had to offer the world was love," she wrote.

Scott Beigel was a geography teacher whom a student said tried to help teenagers to safety in his classroom.
"Mr. Beigel was my hero and he still will forever be my hero. I will never forget the actions that he took for me and for fellow students in the classroom," student Kelsey Friend told CNN. "I am alive today because of him."

Martin Duque was a 14-year-old student at the school.

Nicholas Dworet was a senior who had a swimming scholarship to attend the University of Indianapolis in the fall.
"Nick's death is a reminder that we are connected to the larger world, and when tragedy hits in places around the world, it oftentimes affects us at home," said Robert L. Manuel, University of Indianapolis president.

Aaron Feis was a football coach whom students praised for using his body to shield them from a hail of bullets.
"It didn't surprise me when I heard he jumped in front of a girl and shielded her from the shooter, it doesn't surprise me a bit that he did that," Stoneman Head Football Coach Willis May told UPI Thursday. "He has such love and concern for other people."

Jamie Guttenberg was a student at the school. Her father, Fred Guttenberg, said his "heart is broken."
"I am broken as I write this trying to figure out how my family gets through this," he said in a post on his Facebook page.

Chris Brent Hixon was the school's athletic director and wrestling coach. May told UPI that Hixon ran toward the scene to try to help others to safety.
"He was good to the kids," May said. "Like Feis, he was hard on them sometimes, but always fair."

Luke Hoyer, 15, was a basketball player and enjoyed bowling, his cousin, Grant Cox said.
"He could crack jokes. He could make you smile," Cox said. "I know Luke loved his family. ... He had a huge heart."

Cara Loughran, 14, was a student at the school.

Gina Montalto, 14, was a member of the school's winter guard, which performed with the marching band.
"Our beautiful daughter, Gina Rose, was taken from us during the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School," her mother, Jennifer, wrote on Facebook. "She was a smart, loving, caring, and strong girl who brightened any room she entered."

Joaquin Oliver, 17, was born in Venezuela. He immigrated to the United States at the age of 3 and became a U.S. citizen in 2017.

Alaina Petty, 14, was "a vibrant and determined young woman, loved by all who knew her."
"Alaina loved to serve," her family said in a statement.
She was a member of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas JROTC and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' "Helping Hands" program, who volunteered to assist communities impacted by Hurricane Irma in September.

Meadow Pollack, 18, was a senior who planned to attend Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla., in the fall.
"She was just unbelievable," her father, Andrew Pollack, said. "She was a very strong-willed young girl who had everything going for her."

Helena Ramsey, 17, was a student at the school.

Alex Schachter, 14, played trombone in the school's marching band and enjoyed playing basketball with his friends. His older brother also attended the school and survived the shooting.
He was "a sweetheart of a kid," his father, Max Schachter said. He "just wanted to do well and make his parents happy."

Carmen Marie Schentrup, 16, was a student at the school.

Peter Wang, 15, was a member of the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. His cousin Aaron Chen said Peter "was always so nice and so generous."

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