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Former student Nicolas Cruz identified as Florida high school gunman

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Former student Nicolas Cruz identified as Florida high school gunman
Police said the suspect is in custody (Picture: Reuters)

Authorities in Florida have identified the gunman who killed at least 16 people at a high school in Florida.

He is Nicolas Cruz, a 19-year-old former student at the high school who was described by those who know him as a loner who was ‘obsessed’ with guns.

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In an official statement, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office said the shooter is about 18 years old, not a current student, and was arrested without incident off campus.

Two Instagram accounts purportedly belonging to Cruz reveal his apparent fascination with guns, with one showing him holding a firearm between his face and the camera.

After he was taken into custody for the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the Miami Herald reported that he had been identified as a potential threat to the school.

Maths teacher Jim Gard told the newspaper that Cruz had been in his class last year.

He said: ‘We were told last year that he wasn’t allowed on campus with a backpack on him.

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Former student Nicolas Cruz identified as Florida high school gunman
Cruz is a former student at the high school (Picture: Reuters)
Former student Nicolas Cruz identified as Florida high school gunman
It is feared several people were killed (Picture: CNN)

‘There were problems with him last year threatening students, and I guess he was asked to leave campus.’

It is thought he is a former member of the US Army Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps programme.

There have now been 18 school shootings in the USA in 2018

The shooting happened at the high school in Parkland, 45 miles north of Miami, at the end of the school day on Wednesday.

Students described hiding under desks and in cupboards as gunshots were heard across campus.

Former student Nicolas Cruz identified as Florida high school gunman
Students hid under desks and in cupboards as gunshots were heard (Picture: CNN)

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Superintendent Robert Runcie said: ‘We received no warnings.

‘Potentially there could have been signs out there. But we didn’t have any warning or phone calls or threats that were made.’

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Florida Senator Bill Nelson told NBC news there were a ‘number of fatalities’, with earlier reports claiming up to 50 people had been injured.

President Trump tweeted his condolences shortly after, writing: ‘My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting.

‘No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school.

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‘My thoughts and prayers are with the students, their families and the entire community.

‘We will continue to receive briefings from law enforcement and issue updates.’

Parkland high school shooting leaves at least 17 dead as gunman Nicolas Cruz is arrested

Mr Trump later added: ‘Just spoke to Governor Rick Scott. We are working closely with law enforcement on the terrible Florida school shooting.’

Police said the scene was still ‘very active’ Wednesday afternoon, with reports of parents calling their panicked children who were trapped in the building.

The school, which has 3,100 pupils, was put on ‘Code Red’ lockdown.

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