Several people are feared dead and up to 50 injured after a “gas mask-wearing” gunman stormed a Florida high school and opened fire.
Local reports suggest the shooter pulled the fire alarm and opened fire on students as they evacuated the building.
Police now have the shooter, believed to be a former student, in custody.
Coral Springs Mayor Skip Campbell, whose city contracts fire service in Parkland, confirms there were “multiple fatalities.”
The shooting took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, a city in the southern part of the state between Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale.
The Margate Fire Department told CBS Miami there were between 20 and 50 victims. The extent of the injuries was unclear.
Florida Senator Bill Nelson said “this is a bad day,” adding that there are a “number of fatalities”.
Television images showed students being led out of the school by heavily armed police officers and an armoured vehicle filled with a SWAT team arriving at the scene.
One injured victim was seen being placed into an ambulance on a stretcher.
Police officers in helmets, bulletproof vests and armed with automatic weapons could be seen stationed at several points around the school.
“What happened was that the fire bell rang and we all thought it was a drill because we had already had a fire drill,” an unidentified student told WSVN 7 News.
“We thought it’s another drill so we didn’t take it seriously and then we heard pops from the other side of the school,” the student said.
Police from neighbouring Coral Springs advised teachers and students in the building to “remain barricaded inside until police reach you.”
CBS News cited the sheriff’s office as saying there were multiple people injured.
A television news helicopter report showed multiple people being taken on gurneys into fire rescue ambulances and groups of children walking across Pine Island Road.
There are 3,208 children in grades 9 — 12 enrolled at the school, reports the Sun Sentinel.
The White House has confirmed that President Trump has been “made aware” of the incident.
CBS4 Miami is reporting that it is being treated as a “mass casualty” incident and the FBI is responding.
Samuel Dykes, a freshman, was on the third floor of the school when he said he heard gunshots, and saw several bodies in a classroom.
Source: The Sun