A heavily armed 19-year-old who had been expelled from a South Florida high school opened fire on campus shortly before classes let out Wednesday, killing 17 people while terrified students barricaded themselves inside classrooms, police said.
The violence unfolded at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, a school of more than 3,000 students in an affluent suburb northwest of Fort Lauderdale where houses sit on broad lots.
The Broward County sheriff identified the suspect as Nikolas Cruz, who had recently attended the school but had been kicked out for “disciplinary reasons.” He was captured after a manhunt that transfixed the region and forced a nearby school into a lockdown, said Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel. Students recalled terror and confusion in the aftermath of the shooting.
“It’s a horrific, horrific day,” said Israel, whose own triplets graduated from the well-regarded high school. “It’s catastrophic. There really are no words.” The victims included several students and adults, authorities said.
In an English class, students were reading Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” when the shooting began, and a Code Red was declared.
“We had a fire drill early in the day, so we really didn’t know what was going on,” said Ryan Kadel, a 17-year-old senior. “We went outside, and we saw a security guard on a golf cart driving really fast and yelling at us to run.”
He and two dozen other students fled to the nearest building, piling into a large closet,…