Here's the latest on the Florida school shooting that left 17 dead

Thousands rally for gun control after massacre

PARKLAND, Fla. - Here's the latest on the school shooting that killed 17 people in Florida.


11 p.m.

Pressure is growing for tougher gun-control laws after a Florida high school shooting that killed 17 people.

Thousands of angry protesters in Fort Lauderdale and St. Petersburg gathered Saturday to demand immediate action by legislators. More demonstrations are planned across the country in the weeks ahead.

Organizers are calling for a 17-minute walkout by teachers and students on March 14. The Network for Public Education announced a day of walkouts, sit-ins and other events on school campuses on April 20. The date is the anniversary of the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado that left 12 students and one teacher dead.

7:25 p.m.

Four hours from the Florida high school where 17 people were shot and killed, hundreds of people gathered in a park to rally against gun violence and call for stricter gun laws.

People lit candles in memory of the Parkland victims at the demonstration Saturday night in St. Petersburg, on Florida's Gulf Coast. They called for legislative action on the state and federal level to end gun violence.

It comes as thousands of students, parents, teachers and neighbors held signs and pushed for gun control legislation in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Anger over the massacre Wednesday also has led to calls for walkouts, sit-ins and other actions on school campuses nationwide that are aimed at pushing lawmakers to pass tougher gun laws.

7:25 p.m.

A candidate for a Maryland House seat has pledged to hold a campaign fundraiser that includes raffling off an AR-15 assault rifle, the same type used in the Florida school shooting this week.

The Baltimore Sun reported Friday that Aaron Penman, a Republican, said he still planned to hold the Saturday night event despite fielding criticism.

The Facebook page for the event says all gun winners must complete state and federal background checks.

Dozens of people posted negative comments on Penman's Facebook page, citing the shooting in Florida that left 17 people dead.

Penman, who is a sheriff's deputy, said canceling the event would be an infringement on the Second Amendment. He also conveyed his "heartfelt sorrow" to the victims in Florida.

6:15 p.m.

Protesters held signs and urged for change to gun laws in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, days after 17 people were shot and killed at a high school some 25 miles away.

Thousands of students, parents, teachers and neighbors chanted, "Vote them out!" Saturday as they pushed for gun control legislation.

The rally gave a political outlet to the growing feelings of rage and mourning sparked by the carnage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday.

Authorities say a former student with mental health issues who had been expelled and reported to authorities used a legally purchased semi-automatic rifle to kill students and staff.

Student Emma Gonzalez told the crowd that politicians should stop taking donations from the National Rifle Association. She yelled, "Shame on you," and the crowd repeated her.

2:10 p.m.

Thousands of people are gathering at a gun control rally in Fort Lauderdale, some 25 miles from where 17 people were shot and killed at a high school.

Students from the high school where the shooting took place spoke passionately during Saturday's rally in front of the federal courthouse, pleading with lawmakers to change the nation's gun laws.

One teen, Emma Gonzalez, angrily criticized politicians who take campaign contributions from the National Rifle Association, and challenged them to stop taking money.

She also said adults who knew that the shooter was mentally ill should have done more to prevent him from having a weapon.

2 p.m.

The shooting at a Florida high school that left 17 people dead is prompting calls for school protests around the country.

The Network for Public Education and the American Federation of Teachers called on students, teachers and administrators to organize sit-ins, walkouts and other acts of protest on April 20, the anniversary of the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado.

The groups said the goal is to get lawmakers to enact gun control legislation.

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said the answer to school violence is to keep guns away from people who should not have them. She said she hopes the April 20 protest turns into a broader movement for change.

1:10 p.m.

Vice President Mike Pence talked about school safety during a speech in Dallas, but didn't give specifics.

In a speech Saturday, he said the Justice Department is working with other agencies to "study the intersection of mental health and criminality."

He said that when Presidents Trump meets with governors in a few weeks, he will make school safety a top priority for the administration.

He said the administration will "take a renewed look" at giving law enforcement and local authorities the tools they need to deal with people struggling with dangerous mental illness.

1:10 p.m.

Stunned by a horrific shooting at a Florida high school that left 17 people dead, the state Legislature is grappling with what to do in the aftermath.

Some GOP legislators wanted to consider a bill to put trained, armed volunteers or school employees inside the state's public schools.

The Senate Judiciary Committee was scheduled to take up the legislation (SB 1236), but Sen. Greg Steube, the committee chairman, announced late Friday that the measure would not be taken up after all. Steube made his decision after several top senators said they were opposed to considering the bill.

Groups opposed to the bill flooded legislators with phone calls the last two days.

12:30 p.m.

The teen accused of shooting and killing 17 people in a Florida high school is said to have left a suburban Palm Beach County mobile home in November because his benefactor gave him an ultimatum: you or the gun.

The Palm Beach Post reports Rocxanne Deschamps said, "He bought a gun and wanted to bring it into my house" in public comments that have since been removed from her Facebook page.

Chad Bennett, a friend of Deschamps', said Nikolas Cruz "chose the gun and he left."

It's not known if the gun that led to his departure is the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle authorities say he fired Wednesday afternoon in the hallways of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, leaving 14 students and three adults dead.

The paper reported the woman had taken in Cruz and his younger brother after their adoptive mother died of pneumonia Nov. 1. Nikolas left the home around Thanksgiving and moved in with a family in northern Broward County, a lawyer for that family has said.

12:30 p.m.

A gun show is being held in the same county as the mass shooting that killed 17 people at a Florida school earlier in the week.

The manager of the Florida Gun Show in Fort Lauderdale said Saturday that the event is pre-scheduled years in advance, and the venues are reserved for the gun show years in advance.

Jorge Fernandez said it would have been cost prohibitive to cancel, and that they extend their "deepest condolences" to the people involved in the Parkland shooting.

Flyers posted at the show entrance said there was no "disrespect or insensitivity" intended by the show, and said show organizers demand and enforce strict gun safety and encourage training.

Hundreds of people attended the show.

12:30 p.m.

Misty Copeland, a dancer for the American Ballet Theater in New York, posted a photo on Instagram and said the troupe would honor the life of one Parkland shooting victim.

On Instagram Saturday, Copeland posted a photo of orange ribbons affixed to white ballet costumes hanging on a rack.

Friends and family -- and dancers across the country -- are wearing orange ribbons in memory of Jaime Guttenburg, a 14-year-old who was killed on Wednesday.

Jamie loved gymnastics and dancing.

11 a.m.

Records obtained by a newspaper show that the teen accused of killing 17 people at a Florida high school previously cut his arms and posted on a social media site, and said he wanted to buy a gun in September 2016, more than a year before the massacre.

The Sun-Sentinel reports the incident posted by Nikolas Cruz on Snapchat prompted an investigation by sheriff's deputies and adult welfare investigators from the Department of Children & Family Services.

The documents provide further evidence that Cruz was a troubled teen who repeatedly went without help before being charged with 17 counts of murder in the Wednesday attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The DCF investigation came four days after Cruz's 18th birthday, meaning he could legally purchase a rifle.

On Friday, DCF petitioned a Broward County judge to hold an emergency hearing to release confidential records on Cruz. A decision has not yet been made.

9 a.m.

An activist and teacher who wants gun control laws was removed from a Miami-area GOP fundraiser after confronting House Speaker Paul Ryan about this week's mass shooting at a Florida school.

The Miami Herald reports that Maria Thorne, a Key Biscayne fifth grade teacher, said she and a friend dropped in on the fundraiser Friday at the Ritz Hotel after she noticed motorcade traffic clogging up her commute home.

Thorne said she shook Ryan's hand and introduced herself but added, "You're here celebrating the death of 17 children."

She said Ryan told her he "didn't want to talk politics" or argue. When Thorne tried to continue, security escorted her out as she chanted "No more guns!"

The National Republican Congressional Committee lists a 2018 Winter Meeting in Key Biscayne this weekend. Ryan's spokesperson confirmed to the Herald that he attended it.


As families begin burying their dead, authorities are questioning whether they could have prevented the attack on a South Florida high school where a gunman took the lives of 14 students, the athletic director, a coach and a geography teacher.

At funerals and in the streets of Parkland, anger bubbled over at the senselessness of the shooting and at the widespread availability of guns. A rally to support gun-safety legislation was scheduled for Saturday at the federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale.

During the funeral for 18-year-old Meadow Pollack, her father looked down at his daughter's plain pine coffin and screamed in anguish as Gov. Rick Scott and 1,000 other mourners looked on.

The suspect, Nikolas Cruz, has been jailed on 17 counts of murder.


7:15 p.m.
President Donald Trump has met with victims of a school shooting who are recovering at a Florida hospital.

He's praising the "incredible" work of doctors, nurses and first responders who helped victims after the shooting.

Trump is calling the quick response of medical personnel "record-setting" and says some victims reached the hospital in about 20 minutes.

Trump was speaking Friday as he walked with a doctor at the Broward Health North Hospital.

The president says he met with victims and it's "very sad that something like that could happen."

Trump is expected to meet with law enforcement at the Broward County Sheriff's office later Friday.

6:30 p.m.
President Donald Trump has arrived at a Florida hospital to meet medical professionals two days after a deadly shooting at a Broward County high school.

The president and first lady Melania Trump are visiting Broward Health North Hospital in Pompano Beach. The Trumps are thanking doctors, nurses and medical professionals for their response to Wednesday's mass shooting, when a teen gunman killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, north of Miami.

Trump is expected to meet with officials from the Broward County Sheriff's Office later Friday.

Trump is staying at his Palm Beach club this weekend.

5:35 p.m.
Officials say the Florida school building where a deadly shooting took place is likely to be torn down.

Broward County school officials have had preliminary discussions with top legislators about the idea of tearing down the three-story building at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, where the attack took place and putting a memorial on the site. A new building would be built elsewhere on the school campus.

Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie told local media outlets that the school building where the shooting took place should never be reopened.

State Sen. Bill Galvano, a top Republican, toured the building on Thursday. Galvano says he supports having the state help pay to raze the building and replace it. He said it could cost as much as $30 million.

4:45 p.m.
Mexico's Foreign Relations department has expressed its condolences to the family of a Mexican youth killed in the Florida school shooting.

The government of Mexico issued a statement Friday saying it would assist his family.

The statement did not name the student, but it was an apparent reference to victim Martin Duque, who was 14 years old.

The statement says Mexican consular officials in Miami were in contact with the family of the victim.

Dugue and 16 others were fatally gunned down Wednesday at Douglas Stoneman High School in Parkland, Florida. A teenage suspect was taken into custody after the attack.

4:20 p.m.
A sheriff says his office received about 20 calls in the past few years about Nikolas Cruz, the suspect accused of killing 17 people at high school in Parkland, Florida.

Sheriff Scott Israel of Broward County told a news conference Friday that his office would be investigating every one of those previous calls to see how they were handled. He did not disclose specifics about those calls, but says he would take action personally if anyone was remiss in handling any of the calls.

He also says seven of the wounded remain in hospitals.

The sheriff also clarified that Cruz never had a gas mask or smoke grenades during Wednesday's attack, but he did have a balaclava or cloth mask with eye slits.

3:50 p.m.
A father's grief and anger have boiled over as his daughter, one of the victims of the Florida high school massacre, was buried.

Andrew Pollack looked down from the altar at a Florida synagogue Friday at the coffin of his 18-year-old daughter Meadow and yelled: "You killed my kid!" The father was referring to Nikolas Cruz, the former student accused of gunning down Pollack and 16 others Wednesday at the school in Parkland, Florida.

Pollack told some 1,000 mourners present that he was very angry and upset. He adds: "My kid is dead ... This is just unimaginable that I will never see my princess again."

Pollack's funeral came shortly after another service for 14-year-old Alyssa Alhadeff.

3:30 p.m.
The president of Virginia Tech says the Florida high school where a gunman is accused of fatally shooting 17 people helped his university heal after its own deadly campus shooting over a decade ago.

President Timothy Sands tweeted a link Friday to Virginia Tech's condolence archive, which catalogs the items it received after a gunman fatally shot 32 people in 2007. Among them is a handmade book from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Sands says, "We will never forget that you helped us to heal."

The shooting at Virginia Tech was, at the time, the deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history.

Authorities say a 19-year-old who'd been expelled from the Florida school opened fire there Wednesday, killing 17 people and wounding more than a dozen others.

3:15 p.m.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott is calling on FBI Director Christopher Wray to resign after discovering that the FBI failed to investigate a tip that the Florida school shooter could be plotting an attack.

Scott on Friday sharply criticized the federal law enforcement agency, saying in a statement that the "FBI's failure to take action against this killer is unacceptable."

The FBI acknowledged it failed to act on a tip to its hotline that Nikolas Cruz had a "desire to kill."

In a statement, Scott said that "an apology will never bring these 17 Floridians back to life or comfort the families who are in pain."

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio also criticized the FBI separately, saying it was "inexcusable" the FBI did not follow protocols. He said that Congress should launch its own investigations into what happened.

3 p.m.
Vice President Mike Pence has called the mass shooting at a Florida high school "every parent's nightmare" and says the nation is praying for the victims and their families.

Pence spoke Friday on a stop in San Antonio, Texas, about Wednesday's shooting in Broward County, Florida, that claimed 17 lives.  The vice president says "the heartache in Broward County is unimaginable" but it's a heartache that many Texans know from the deadly shooting last year at a church" in that state.

The vice president says, "then as now, our hearts were broken. Then as now, heroes were forged."

Pence is on a fundraising trip to Texas and also plans to inspect the U.S.-Mexican border as lawmakers debate immigration proposals.

2:55 p.m.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is ordering a review of the Justice Department's processes after the FBI failed to investigate a tip that the Florida school shooting suspect could be plotting an attack.

Sessions said Friday the shooting that killed 17 people was a "tragic consequence" of the FBI's failures. He said it's now clear that the nation's premier law enforcement agency missed warning signs. The FBI acknowledged it failed to act on a tip to its hotline that Nikolas Cruz had a "desire to kill."

The review will include a look at what went wrong and how the agency and Justice Department respond. Sessions says it may include "possible consultation with family members, mental health officials, school officials, and local law enforcement."

Authorities say Cruz, a volatile 19-year-old who had been expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, opened fire there Wednesday, killing 17 people and wounding more than a dozen others.

2:20 p.m.
The troubled teen authorities say killed 17 people at a Florida high school excelled in an air-rifle marksmanship program supported by a grant from the National Rifle Association Foundation. It was part of a multi-million dollar effort by the pro-gun group to support youth shooting clubs.

Nikolas Cruz was wearing a shirt with the logo of the Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program when he was arrested Wednesday. Former cadets told The Associated Press that Cruz was on the varsity marksmanship team that competed against other area schools.

The cadets used air rifles special-made for target shooting. The JROTC program at Cruz's school received $10,827 in non-cash assistance from the NRA's foundation while he was there.

The NRA declined to comment. The foundation gave nearly $2.2 million to schools in 2016.

12:40 p.m.
A group of high schoolers has walked out of classes to protest gun violence after a mass shooting killed 17 people at a neighboring school.

The South Broward High School students began their protest along U.S. 1 in Hollywood as school started on Friday morning. Students told news outlets they were protesting gun violence, the National Rifle Association and President Donald Trump. One sign also took aim at Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, showing him with $$ for eyes and accusing him of taking $3 million in NRA blood money.

They've added their voices to a groundswell among students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland who have been speaking out against gun violence since the shooting on Wednesday.

Former student Nikolas Cruz has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder following. The 19-year-old man was arrested about two miles from the school a short time after the shooting.

South Broward High School is some 30 miles (48 kilometers) from Parkland.

12:35 p.m.
The FBI says it failed to investigate a specific report in January that Nikolas Cruz could be plotting a school shooting.

The agency said in a statement Friday that the tip should've been investigated thoroughly because it was a potential threat to life. Cruz has been arrested and charged with killing 17 people at a high school earlier this week.

On Jan. 5, a tipster who was close to Cruz called the FBI and provided information about Cruz's guns, desire to kill people, erratic behavior and disturbing social media posts. The FBI says the caller expressed concerns Cruz could attack a school.

FBI Director Christopher Wray says the agency deeply regrets the additional pain this causes all those affected by this horrific tragedy.

The FBI also had been notified about a comment on a YouTube video posted by a "Nikolas Cruz" last year. It investigated that comment but did not determine who made it.

11:35 a.m.
At the first funeral for a victim of the Florida high school shooting, mourners packed the Star of David chapel to remember 14-year-old Alyssa Alhadeff.

Those outside Friday stood and strained to hear the voices chanting Jewish prayers and remembering the star soccer player as having "the strongest personality." She was also remembered as a creative writer with a memorable smile.

Authorities say Nikolas Cruz, a volatile 19-year-old who had been expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, opened fire there Wednesday, killing 17 people and wounding more than a dozen others. Cruz was ordered held without bond Thursday.

11 a.m.
Sen. Bill Nelson says he's continuing to work for changes in gun laws after 17 people were killed in a Florida high school.

The Florida Democrat says the state Legislature also bears responsibility, since it could outlaw assault weapons in the state.

Speaking outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Friday, Nelson said he's inspired by the students at who've been demanding changes to make gun violence less likely.

Nelson says "these kids are just terrific. ... The fact that they are speaking up as boldly as they are, maybe that's the turning point. You haven't heard students speak up one after another after another after witnessing such carnage and speaking out with such conviction."

Former student Nikolas Cruz is being held without bond on 17 counts of premeditated murder.

10:40 a.m.
Groups advocating stricter gun laws are organizing Americans who want to channel anger into action after the deadly Florida school shooting.

Everytown for Gun Safety says it has received $800,000 in unsolicited donations since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. It calls it a precursor for midterm elections in 2018, which it hopes will turn the tide in gun politics.

John Feinblatt, president of the Everytown group, says "it's time to elect leaders who will finally act to save lives from gun violence."

The five-point action plan includes pledging to vote according to candidates' positions on gun safety, letting leaders know the money they've taken from the National Rifle Association will determine one's vote, registering friends to vote, getting candidates to state their conditions on the record, and finally, running for office to become a champion for sensible gun laws.

Shannon Watts, who founded the group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, said "many of our lawmakers have failed us, but that's why we have elections."

10:30 a.m.
A grieving mother who directed her anger at President Donald Trump on live television after the Florida school shooting isn't done shouting. And she's made it personal, invoking the president's 11-year-old son, Barron.

Lori Alhadeff spoke Friday in a CNN interview before the funeral for her 14-year-old daughter Alyssa.

She said, "President Trump, Barron goes to school. Let's protect Barron. And let's also protect all these other kids."

Then her voice raised to a shout as she said "You need to help us, now. We need security now for all these children. We need Action, Action, Action!"

10:05 a.m.
President Donald Trump says he's heading to Florida, where a community is in mourning after a shooting at a high school killed 17 people.

In a Friday morning tweet, Trump said "I will be leaving for Florida today to meet with some of the bravest people on earth -- but people whose lives have been totally shattered."

He also said he'll be working with Congress "on many fronts."

Authorities said Nikolas Cruz, a volatile 19-year-old who had been expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, opened fire there Wednesday, killing 17 people and wounding more than a dozen others. Cruz was ordered held without bond Thursday.

10 a.m.
Funeral services are being scheduled for victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.

Meadow Pollack and Alyssa Alhadeff will be buried in the Garden of Aaron at Star of David Memorial Gardens in North Lauderdale after separate funerals on Friday.

Fourteen-year-old Alyssa was among the youngest victims of Wednesday's shooting that killed 17 people. Her mother screamed on CNN, demanding that President Donald Trump take action.

Eighteen-year-old Meadow was a senior planning to attend Lynn University in Boca Raton.

Another funeral service is scheduled Sunday for 14-year-old Jaime Guttenberg.

7 a.m.
Jimmy Kimmel opened his late night show by replaying clips from President Donald Trump's statement about the killings of 17 people by a teenager with an AR-15 assault weapon at a Florida high school -- including the part where Trump said "no parent should ever have to fear for their sons and daughters when they kiss them goodbye in the morning."

Kimmel said he agrees, "and here's what you do to fix that. Tell your buddies in Congress, tell Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell and Marco Rubio, all the family men who care so much about their communities, that what we need are laws, real laws, that do everything possible to keep assault rifles out of the hands of people who are going to shoot our kids. Go on TV and tell them to do that!" he said to strong applause.

Kimmel called on Trump to "force these allegedly Christian men and women who stuff their pockets from the NRA to do something, now. Not later, now. And don't you dare let them say it's too soon to be talking about it."

Kimmel urged people to write their representatives, call them, "and if they don't listen, vote them out of office."

1:20 a.m.
At least 1,000 people attended a candlelight vigil near the school Thursday night, some openly sobbing as the victims' names were read aloud. At one point, people began chanting, "No more guns! No more guns!"

Some held flowers. Others held signs asking for action, including gun control, against school violence.

"Kids don't need guns. No guns under 21," read one sign.

Authorities said Nikolas Cruz, a volatile 19-year-old who became an orphan when his mother died in November and had been expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, legally bought the AR-15 assault weapon he used to kill 17 people and wound more than a dozen others.

Cruz was ordered held without bond Thursday. His lawyer called him a "broken human being" and Executive Chief Public Defender Gordon Weeks said he was under a suicide watch.

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