Florida school shooting: 17 killed, suspect arrested; Donald Trump offers condolences

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.

Florida school shooting: 17 killed, suspect arrested; Donald Trump offers condolences

PARKLAND: A 19-year-old gunman opened fire on Wednesday at a Florida High School he had previously been expelled from, killing at least 17 people before he was finally arrested by police, the authorities said on Thursday.

The violence erupted shortly before dismissal at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, about 45 miles (72 km) north of Miami. Live television footage showed students streaming out of the building as dozens of police and emergency services personnel swarmed the area.

The gunman was identified as Nikolas Cruz, who previously attended the school and was expelled for unspecified disciplinary reasons, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said at a news briefing hours later.

"Seventeen people were killed when a 19-year-old former student opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle at a Florida High School,'' Sheriff Scott Israel sheriff said, calling the scene "horrific.".

He said the suspect has been identified as Nikolaus Cruz, a former student at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who had been expelled for "disciplinary reasons."

"We have already begun to dissect his websites and things on social media," Israel said, calling some of the posts "very, very disturbing."

''The gunman is now in police custody since he surrendered without a struggle,'' Israel said.

Twelve of the dead were killed inside the school building, two others just outside, one more on the street and two other victims died of their injuries at a hospital, Israel said. 

He said the victims comprised a mixture of students and adults.

Donald Trump has offered his condolences, following the shooting at a school in Parkland, Florida.

"My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting. No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school," President Trump wrote on Twitter.

Trump also assured the US citizens that a strict action will be taken against the shooter.

"Just spoke to Governor Rick Scott. We are working closely with law enforcement on the terrible Florida school shooting," said another tweet from the President.

First Lady of the United States, Melania Trump, too offered her condolences.

"My heart is heavy over the school shooting in Florida. Keeping all affected in my thoughts and prayers," she wrote on Twitter.

It was the 18th shooting in a US school so far this year, according to gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety. 

That tally includes suicides and incidents when no one was injured, as well as the January incident when a 15-year-old gunman killed two students at a Benton, Kentucky, high school.

More than five years have passed since a gunman killed 20 first-graders and six educators in Newtown, Connecticut, stirring the long US debate about gun rights, which are protected by the Second Amendment of the US Constitution.

(With Agency inputs)