An Indian American student at a high school in Parkland, Florida, was injured when a former student opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle Feb. 14, killing at least 17 people and sending hundreds of students fleeing into the streets in the nation’s deadliest school shooting since a gunman attacked an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.
The ninth grade student sustained minor injuries after he was hit by splinters, and is being treated at a hospital, according to a PTI report.
"This is a sad day for the country and the community. We all Indian Americans are praying for the victims," Shekar Reddy, whose friend's son was among those injured in the mass shooting, told PTI. The school reportedly has quite a few students from the Indian American community.
The FBI is assisting local officials in the investigation.
AP reports: The shooter, who was equipped with a gas mask and smoke grenades, set off a fire alarm to draw students out of classrooms shortly before the day ended at one of the state’s largest schools, officials said.
Authorities offered no immediate details on the 19-year-old suspect or any possible motive, except to say that he had been kicked out of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which has about 3,000 students.
Students who knew the shooter, identified as Nikolas Cruz, described a volatile teenager whose strange behavior had caused others to end friendships with him, particularly after the fight that led to his expulsion.
Frantic parents rushed to the school to find SWAT team members and ambulances surrounding the huge campus. Live television footage showed emergency workers who appeared to be treating the wounded on sidewalks.
“It is a horrific situation,” said Robert Runcie, superintendent of the school district in Parkland, about an hour’s drive north of Miami. “It is a horrible day for us.”
The suspect was taken into custody without a fight in a residential neighborhood about a mile away. He had multiple magazines of ammunition, authorities said.
“It’s catastrophic. There really are no words,” Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel told reporters.
The attacker used the fire alarm “so the kids would come pouring out of the classrooms into the hall,” Sen. Bill Nelson told CNN.
“And there the carnage began,” said Nelson, who said he was briefed by the FBI.
The Florida Democrat said he did not know if the gunman used the smoke grenades, but he assumed that’s why he had a gas mask on.
Most of the fatalities were inside the building, though some victims were found outside. The dead included a football coach, the sheriff said.
More than a dozen other people were wounded and taken to hospitals, doctors said.
The school was to be closed for the rest of the week.
A law enforcement official said the former student posted highly disturbing material on social media before the shooting rampage.
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said Feb. 14 investigators are dissecting the suspect’s social media posts and found material that is “very, very disturbing.” He didn’t elaborate.