Broward Co. sheriff says there was an armed officer on campus at time of shooting

Posted at 10:09 AM, Feb 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-15 13:24:42-05

PARKLAND, Fla. (AP) — The Broward County sheriff says there was an armed officer on campus at the time of a deadly high school shooting.

Sheriff Scott Israel said Thursday the officer never encountered the suspect during the Wednesday afternoon attack that killed 17 people.

Nineteen-year-old Nikolas Cruz has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder in the Wednesday afternoon shooting in Parkland, Florida.

SPECIAL SECTION: Shooting at Broward County school 

The Dollar Tree retail chain confirms that the Florida high school shooting suspect worked at their store in Parkland.

In a Thursday statement, the Dollar Tree says they'll share any information about 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz with local and federal officials that may help with the investigation. The retailer also expressed sympathy for the Parkland community and those affected by the Wednesday attack that killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott says he'll sit down with state leaders and work on how they can make sure people with mental illness aren't able to get guns.

Scott spoke Thursday a day after a shooting left 17 people dead at a high school. He said leaders will look at how they can make sure something like that never happens again.

FBI agent Rob Lasky says the FBI investigated a 2017 YouTube comment that said "I'm going to be a professional school shooter"; but the agency couldn't identify the person making the comment.

Nineteen-year-old Nikolas Cruz has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder in the Wednesday afternoon shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Kentucky's Republican governor says he's heartbroken over a school shooting in Florida that killed 17 just weeks after a similar shooting at a high school in his state.

Gov. Matt Bevin told talk radio hosts his heart is truly broken for the people of Florida and the community has been shattered in a similar way that Kentucky was in January. He said guns are not the reason for increase in school shootings, but blamed a culture that delegitimizes life through violent video games, TV shows and music lyrics.

Bevin called video games where people kill others "garbage" and said "it's the same as pornography." He said "freedom of speech" has been abused by allowing things that are "filthy and disgusting and have no redeemable value."

A school district superintendent choked up during a television interview while discussing the scene at a Florida High School where 17 people were killed during a shooting rampage shortly before dismissal time.

Broward County school district Superintendent Robert Runcie told WSVN on Thursday morning that seeing the bodies strewn on floors inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School "was absolutely horrific."

A tearful Runcie said the scene was "nothing like I've ever seen in my entire life."

Runcie said his thoughts are with the parents and families whose children didn't come home from school Wednesday.

An attorney representing the family said they are shocked by what happened and had no idea he was planning anything.

Jim Lewis told The Associated Press on Thursday that Cruz began living with the family after his mother died in November. He said Cruz was quiet and very respectful but also sad.

Lewis says Cruz had an AR-15 rifle in the home with them but it was kept in a locked cabinet.

Lewis says the family — who he declined to identify — has been cooperating with law enforcement, who have been searching their home. He also said the family's own son, a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was at the school when the shooting happened and is shaken up by it.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says it's time to keep mourning parents of the victims of the school shooting in Florida in "our thoughts and prayers," not to discuss how to deal with gun violence.

Tillerson, speaking during a visit to Lebanon during his Mideast tour, called it a "horrific school shooting." At least 17 children were shot at high school in Florida. The 19-year old suspect is custody.

Responding to a reporter's question about how the U.S. talks to foreign countries about reducing violence while it is grappling with school violence and other mass shootings at home, Tillerson said it was time to pray for the victims.

A law enforcement official is telling The Associated Press that a former student who killed 17 people at a Florida school legally purchased his AR-15 rifle about a year ago.

The official is familiar with the investigation into the school shooting but not authorized to discuss it publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Federal law allows people 18 and over to legally purchase long guns. At 21, people can legally buy handguns from a licensed dealer.

Associated Press writer Sadie Gurman reported from Washington.