An armed officer at the Florida high school never encountered the gunman during the shooting, sheriff says

  • There was an armed officer present on the Florida high-school campus where a mass shooting occurred Wednesday, the sheriff said.
  • The officer never encountered the shooter during the attack, but Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel declined to provide more details.
  • The suspected shooter, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, was arrested 2 miles from the school, and reportedly hid in a group of students to escape.

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said the Florida high school that suffered a deadly mass shooting on Wednesday employed an armed “school resource deputy” who never encountered the shooter.

“He was on campus, and he was armed,” Israel said at a press conference Thursday, but declined to provide additional details.

The massacre left 17 dead and more than a dozen injured. Local police arrested the suspected shooter, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, in a neighbourhood near the school.

Authorities told the Palm Beach Post that Cruz had made it out of the school by concealing himself within a crowd of evacuating students. Cruz has since been charged by police with 17 counts of premeditated murder and was denied bond in a court hearing Thursday afternoon.

Cruz was expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas for disciplinary reasons, and one of his former teachers told the Miami Herald he “wasn’t allowed on campus with a backpack on him.”

The FBI knew about a YouTube user named Nikolas Cruz who said he would be a “professional school shooter” five months before the Florida shooting. The bureau hasn’t yet confirmed if it was the shooter’s account.

Israel said authorities are still investigating the crime scene and will soon release a timeline of how the shooting unfolded.

He added that he intends to be vocal in the coming weeks on how similar incidents can be prevented in the future, particularly when they involve mental illness.

“We need to have the power to take that person and bring them before mental health professionals,” he said, urging people to contact authorities if they suspect someone may harm themselves or others.

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