By Kayla Wright, News Writer
Nikolas Jacob Cruz, a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, murdered 17 people in a shooting rampage, and injured 14 others on February 14, marking this the 18th shooting of the year, according to the New York Times.
Cruz, who had been expelled from the school, began his shooting rampage, armed with a semiautomatic AR-15, outside of MSD High School in a suburban neighborhood around 2:40 P.M. He then made his way into the hallways he was familiar with, pulled the fire alarm and began firing at the students and teachers who were coming out or running for cover, the authorities said, according to the New York Times.
By the end of the shooting, Cruz had killed 12 people inside the school, and three outside the school, and two more victims died from their injuries in local hospitals, according to the New York Times.
Cruz slipped out with the students who were evacuating, walked to Walmart, and bought a drink at a Subway. He also stopped at a McDonald’s. He was later arrested at 3:41 p.m. in a neighboring city, Coral Springs, according to CNN.
“He looked like a typical high school student, and for a quick moment I thought, could this be the person who I need to stop?” said Officer Michael Leonard.
Cruz was taken into custody off campus about an hour after he “committed this horrific, detestable act,” Sheriff Scott Israel said, adding investigators were reviewing social media postings that he described as “very disturbing,” according to the New York Times. The suspect was treated for labored breathing as a precaution but was later released from the hospital, according to officials.
After his release from the hospital, he was taken to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office.
On February 28, Students and teachers returned to class seeking for things to be normal after the mass shooting thrust them into the center of the national gun debate, according to CNN.
There was a roller coaster of emotions as they walked into a school filled with friends, grief counselors and comfort dogs. Throughout campus, posters offered encouraging messages, reminding them “We get courage from each other,” according to CNN.
Zachary Cruz, Nikolas Cruz’s brother, was arrested for trespassing March 19 after he was seen skateboarding through the campus where dozens of students and staff members had been killed and injured only weeks before in a shooting rampage, according to The Washington Post.
When he was questioned by authorities, he said he wanted to “reflect on the school shooting and soak it in,” according to his arrest report.
In addition to his trespassing charge, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office had petitioned a judge to revoke Zachary Cruz’s right to own or possess a firearm under a new law passed this month, according to The Washington Post.
The shooting sparked nationwide debate over gun laws and mass shootings. Superintendent Robert Runcie commended the students for keeping the subject at the forefront of the conversation as they grapple with their own trauma, according to CNN.
On March 24, five students from MSD, Jaclyn Corin, Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg, Cameron Kasky and Alex Wind made a movement and planned an event called ‘March for Our Lives’ to call for strict gun control laws, according to Time Magazine.
During the event many people went on stage to deliver powerful and inspiring speeches.
González led an emotional moment of silence at the “March for Our Lives” rally in Washington. The moment of silence lasted for 6 minutes and 20 seconds – which is how long the shooting lasted according to CBS News.
“In a little over six minutes, 17 of our friends were taken from us, 15 more were injured, and everyone — absolutely everyone in the Douglas community — was forever altered,” González said, beginning her speech at the Washington, D.C., march.
On March 7, an indictment was handed down by a Broward County grand jury charging Nikolas Cruz with 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder. It means he may face the death penalty if he is convicted, according to CNN.