Shortly before students were to be dismissed for the day, the sound of gunfire ripped through the air, Broward County school officials said on Twitter, adding that multiple people had been injured in the incident.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, about 45 miles (72 km) north of Miami, had been placed on a “code red” lockdown but had no information on how many people had been injured, a spokeswoman for the county sheriff’s office said. The sheriff’s office said on Twitter that the shooter was still at large.
School officials and police asked parents who were in touch with their children to tell them to remain hidden in classrooms while police searched for the shooter.
“Police are working an active shooter scene, and ask that if you are in touch with your student you ask that they remain calm and barricaded until police come to their room, this is for everyone’s safety,” Coral Springs police said on Twitter.
Students hid in classrooms until they were rescued by police in tactical gear, friends and family members said.
Panicked parents checked on their children.
“My daughter, as of right now, she’s still trapped in a closet. She’s afraid to speak,” a man who identified himself as Caesar Figueroa and said his daughter was inside the school, told CBS News.
“I told her, ‘Don’t call me, because I don’t want no one to hear your voice.’ So, she’s still trapped in a closet in there.”
The Miami Herald quoted a local fire chief as saying that at least one person had been killed in the attack. Florida’s WSVN-TV reported 20 people may have been injured. Reuters was not able to immediately confirm those reports.
Live television showed dozens of students, weaving their way between law enforcement officers with heavy weapons and helmets, and large numbers of emergency vehicles including police cars, ambulances and fire trucks.
Local FOX-10 TV reported that five people were seen being treated by paramedics.
Florida Governor Rick Scott said on Twitter that had he had been in touch with local officials about the incident.
The shooting was the latest in a deadly series of attacks at U.S. schools. A 15-year-old gunman in January killed two students at a Benton, Kentucky, high school.
“My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting,” U.S. President Donald Trump said on Twitter. “No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school.”
© Thomson Reuters 2018
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