Florida school shooting leaves 17 dead


One of the entrances to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where 17 students and staff members were killed on Feb. 14. (Photo courtesy of Coral Springs Talk CC by 4.0)

By Alyssa Cristobal, Features Editor

A shooting on Feb. 14 left 17 people dead and thousands more in uproar. 19 year old Nikolas Cruz entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. on Valentine’s Day with a weapon and intent to kill. Among those who died were 14 students, an athletic director, a geography teacher and a football coach.

The gunman arrived at the high school at 2:19 pm in an Uber, wearing school colors. He walked into the school’s freshman building and the school went into a lockdown. Cruz pulled the fire alarm and students rushed out into the hallways. Numerous Snapchat and Twitter posts by students at the scene documented what the attack.  After the assault, Cruz walked to a nearby Walmart, then a McDonalds. The shooter was arrested at 3:41 p.m. in a neighboring town.

Leading up to the incident, there were numerous signs that Cruz had exhibited or was capable of violent manner, including two tips sent to the FBI. Cruz formerly attended Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and, before he was expelled due to violent behavior, he was banned from carrying a backpack on campus by administration.

Cruz’s Instagram, which has since been taken down, was riddled with photos of weapons. Cruz also has a history of mental health issues, including depression. In September, Cruz left comments on a YouTube channel stating “I’m going to be a professional school shooter.” The YouTuber whose channel Cruz commented on alerted the FBI and flagged the content; he did not hear back until after the shooting occurred. On Feb. 15, Cruz was charged with 17 accounts of premeditated murder.  He has confessed to the crime.  

Students returned to school on Feb. 28 and were welcomed with support from their community and school. To ease students back into the schedule, the school will be operating on a half-day schedule; and the campus has provided numerous grief counselors and comfort-dogs for students.

The shooting’s survivors did not only return with grief, but with a purpose to change the future.

For more on student activism following the shooting, vist: https://thewessexwire.com/3317/1-news/student-activism-on-the-rise-following-florida-school-shooting/#photo