Florida school shooting: Former student goes on shooting spree, kills 17

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Nineteen-year-old Nikolas Cruz has been suspected of gunning down at least 17 people on Valentine's Day afternoon at a high school in the US' Florida.

The shooting at Stoneman Douglas is the worst since 20 students and six adults were slain at Sandy Hook Elementary School in in Newtown, Conn.in 2012.

At least 14 people have been taken to area hospitals following the shooting, Israel said.

Cruz is now in police custody after briefly receiving treatment at a local hospital.

An ex-schoolmate recalled Cruz posting on Instagram about killing animals, and said he talked of doing target practice in his backyard with a pellet gun.

Police officers arrest Nikolas Cruz after the shooting.

"There needs to be more, I think just establishing better relationships, stronger community, so definitely more is needed", said Melissa.

Despite the circumstances, he said parents who haven't heard from their child were still hopeful.

Hiding in a sweltering storage room with about 40 other students, she typed out a text message to her mother, Stacy, for what she thought might be the last time. Since then, he has left the building. I hope In this darkest of times back home this brings everyone together and we can find love. "When there's a funny joke he is always laughing for sure", he said.

Student Daniel Huerfano told The Associated Press he remembers seeing Cruz walking around the school with his lunch bag, adding, "He was that weird kid that you see. like a loner". Students reportedly recognized him during the assault.

Robert Runcie had just handed the keys for a brand new Toyota Camry to Tammy Freeman, his school district's Teacher of the Year.

Since 2014, Arizona Security Group has helped dozens of schools, churches, and businesses across the Valley. All of those victims have been identified, he said, but no identities will be made public until the families of all of those affected have been notified. But Democratic lawmakers-and at least one teacher at the school-are calling for more.

Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy spoke in front of the Senate shortly after the shooting, saying Congress is "responsible for the level of mass atrocity that happens to this country with zero parallel anywhere else".