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Florida High School Shooting Update

Feb 16, 2018
Originally published on February 16, 2018 8:25 am
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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

There are several vigils planned for today and tomorrow in the Parkland, Fla., area as that community and, really, the nation are finding ways to cope with Wednesday's mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. They'll follow a vigil last night that drew so many people to an amphitheater. They were honoring the 17 people who were killed, and there were some chanting in protest.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: (Chanting) No more guns. No more guns. No more guns.

GREENE: No more guns, they're chanting there. I want to bring in NPR's Greg Allen, who is covering all of this in South Florida. Hi, Greg.

GREG ALLEN, BYLINE: Hi, David.

GREENE: Could we just start with the victims in this shooting? Tell us who they were.

ALLEN: Well, we finally got the list of 17 names officially released yesterday. Many of these names have become familiar in recent days as we talk to students about the people they knew there who they lost. It includes three teachers and administrators, including a football coach, Aaron Feis and geography teacher Scott Beigel. Students talked about how the actions of both those men saved their lives. So we knew about them. The list also includes many freshmen. The shootings took place in a building used mostly by freshmen. Last night at that memorial service, Jaime Guttenberg's father spoke about how she'd light up a room when she came in. It also includes senior Nicholas Dworet, who was headed to college next year on a swimming scholarship. But there's a National Merit semifinalist, kids who are on color guard, the marching band, kids who played soccer, junior ROTC. It's just a very sad list.

GREENE: Yeah. It's a tough list to go through. The gunman, Greg? What do we know right now about the investigation?

ALLEN: Well, in documents we had released yesterday, we know now that he confessed to the shootings and Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel released a timeline yesterday. It began after 2 o'clock, just after 2:00 p.m. Wednesday, when Cruz took an Uber car to the school carrying his AR-15 rifle in a soft case. He entered the school through a stairwell. He went to all three floors in the school during the rampage. He then dropped the weapon in his backpack and ran from the school, blending in with students who were fleeing the shooting, and went to a nearby Wal-Mart, where he bought a drink at a Subway and waited around for a while. Then he headed home, and he was picked up by an officer who was looking for him.

GREENE: Greg, it's striking to hear survivors of the shooting pressing so vocally for some kind of action on guns so quickly here.

ALLEN: It is interesting how it's been this kind of mass outpouring from the students themselves, you're talking about teenagers who feel very strongly. And we've had a lot of elected officials weighing in here. Senators are coming. Senator Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio will be visiting today. President Trump will be visiting soon. Governor Scott has been here constantly. They've been talking about taking action about mental illness to keep guns out of the hands of people with mental illnesses. But, you know, Cruz bought his gun legally, was not known to be diagnosed. The kids are talking about gun control. Superintendent of schools Robert Runcie says he's been hearing them from them as well and that he hopes we can get it done in this generation. He said yesterday, if we don't do it, they will.

GREENE: NPR's Greg Allen reporting this morning. Greg, thank you.

ALLEN: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.