• Thousands gather for Florida school shooting vigil

    By: Aaron Diamant , Carl Willis

    Updated:

    Story Highlights

    • Nikolas Cruz charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.
    • Broward sheriff called for giving law enforcement more power to detain people who make threats.
    • Florida's Governor said he wants to work with lawmakers to address mental illness.

    PARKLAND, Fla. - An orphaned 19-year-old with a troubled past and his own AR-15 rifle was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder Thursday morning following the deadliest school shooting in the U.S. in five years.

    Law enforcement officials said Nikolas Cruz legally purchased the assault weapon used in the attack.

    At a news conference Thursday morning, Florida Gov. Rick Scott said he's already told House Speaker Paul Ryan that "if someone is mentally ill he should not have access to a gun."

    Broward County Schools Superintendent Rob Runcie said "now is the time to have a real conversation about gun control legislation," and said that if adults can't manage that in their lifetimes, he said students will do it.

    Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel called for giving law enforcement more power to detain people who make threats.


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    "What I'm asking our lawmakers to do is go back to places like Tallahassee and Washington, D.C., to give police the power," the sheriff said, to detain people who make graphic threats or post disturbing material online, and bring them involuntarily to mental health professionals to be examined.

    [GoFundMe Link: Stoneman Douglas Victims' Fund]

    The sheriff said law enforcement can certainly visit gun owners whose mental health is questioned, "whether they have a gun legally or not."

    Thirteen wounded survivors were hospitalized, including two people in critical condition. The sheriff said some bodies remained inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School as authorities investigate the crime scene. The slain included a school athletic director and another adult who worked as a monitor at the school. Runcie called them heroes.

    LIVE MINUTE-BY-MINUTE UPDATES:

    6:45 p.m.:

    Large crowds have gathered in Parkland for a vigil.

    5:15 p.m.:

    During an emotional news conference, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel read the names of the 17 victims.

    5:10 p.m.:

    Authorities provide a timeline of events.

    Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said the suspect bought a drink at Subway and stopped at McDonald's after the shooting and before he was taken into custody.

    Cruz was confronted by a police officer and taken into custody about 40 minutes after leaving the McDonald's

    2:32 p.m.: 

    The officer who found the suspected school shooter said he "looked like a typical high school student."

    1:56 p.m.: 

    A judge denied bond to the 19-year-old suspect Nikolas Cruz. 

    12:54 p.m.:

    Leader of white nationalist group has confirmed suspect in Florida school shooting was member of his organization, according to the Associated Press. 

    11:29 a.m.: 

    President Trump asks for prayers and peace for a better tomorrow.

    11:26 a.m.:

    President Trump said he will be meeting with the nation's governors and attorney generals to talk about school safety.

    11:25 a.m.:

    President Trump said he will visit Parkland, Florida to meet with the officials and victims soon.

    11:23 a.m.:

    President Trump says no child, no teacher, should ever be in danger in an American school.

    11:14 a.m.:

    The Broward County Sheriff said there was an armed officer on the school campus, but never encountered the gunman.

    11:11 a.m.:

    The Broward County Sheriff said there are some bodies still inside the school. 

    11:06 a.m.: 

    The Broward County Sheriff said the football coach who died protecting students was a true hero. “He was one of the greatest people I knew."

    11:05 a.m.: 

    A doctor at the Broward County hospital there was an active shooter drill about 9 months ago, which helped prepare them for situations like the school shooting.

    10:59 a.m.: 

    Attorney General Pam Bondi reiterated the fact that Florida will pay for the funerals for the victims and counseling for the survivors.

    10:57 a.m.:

    Attorney General Pam Bondi said authorities handled the crime scenes "exceptionally well" from a prosecution stand point.

    10:54 a.m.: 

    The school superintendent said students are saying that now is the time for sensible gun laws and proper mental health help. 

    10:52 a.m.:

    The special agent with the Miami Division of the FBI Rob Lasky said there was a comment made on a YouTube page in 2015 that said "I'm going to be a professional school shooter" but authorities couldn't identify the true identity of who posted the comment. 

    10:51 a.m.:

    Florida Governor Rick Scott said he will sit down with state leaders about school safety and how to get people "with mental illnesses not touch a gun."

    10:48 a.m.

    The sheriff said there have been copy-cat reports of shootings in the area. 

    10:47 a.m.

    The Broward County sheriff said all victims' families have been notified and that “the community is hurting right now.”

    7:43 a.m. 

    President Trump tweets on Florida school shooting suspect: "Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!" 

    7:32 a.m. 

    GoFundMe page set up for Marietta native’s daughter shot at Florida high school. 

    7:10 a.m.

    Broward County Superintendent: "Let us find the courage to transcend fear, greed, hatred & divisions and collaborate to achieve a new level of consciousness to find real solutions." 

    7 a.m. 

    Mugshot shows 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, who has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder in deadly Florida school shooting. 

    6:30 a.m. 

    19-year-old suspect in a deadly shooting at Florida high school booked into jail after being questioned for hours by state and federal authorities. 

    12:34 a.m.  

    The football coach who was shot while protecting students has died, according to the school's football team.  

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