News Americas, FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Thurs. Feb. 15, 2018: The Jamaica born superintendent of Broward County Public Schools was light night calling for prayers for “our babies and families” as the death toll from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school shooting climbed to 17.
Superintendent Robert Runcie, who came to the post in 2015, called the tragedy unspeakable and said the county is working with law enforcement officials as the investigation continues.
“This is a day that you pray every day when you get up that you will never have to see. It is in front of us,” he said on local television. “I ask the community for prayers and their support for the children and their families.”
Runcie also said there was no warning and no indication of the shooting, adding in a statement that “there are no words to express the sorrow that we are all feeling.”
“We have grief counselors and crisis teams ready to assist, and we will be providing details to all of our families and staff as we move forward,” the statement added. “Dealing with this tragedy is going to take time – and we will be here for every student, every family and every staff member. Our hearts are broken.”
Parents of students meanwhile, were being asked to gather at the Marriot hotel in Coral Springs last night for an update as Broward Public Schools also announced the Parklands, Florida high school will be closed for the rest of the week.
Last night, the shooter, 19-year-old expelled former student Nickolaus cruz, remained in police custody.
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said Cruz, killed 17 teenagers and adults with an assault rifle, an AR-15 equipped with multiple clips.
Twelve victims were gunned-down inside buildings on the school’s campus, two on the school grounds, and another on nearby of Pine Island Road as he fled. Two victims later died at a nearby hospital.
Cruz reportedly was expelled from the school, and while there, he bragged about the use of guns. Reports stated that he came back to the school on Wednesday wearing a back-pack, and somehow got pass the school security and proceeded to pull the fire alarm shortly before 2.30 p.m. Wednesday. As the unsuspecting students rushed out of class rooms, he opened fire.
The school has over 3,000 students, including Caribbean-Americans.
Up to press time the victims of this latest in several similar school shootings across the US had not been identified even as their bodies remained in the school awaiting the medical examiner. Unconfirmed reports said members of the school’s staff, including a teacher and a football coach were among those killed.