On February 14, 2018, Nikolas Cruz opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 people and injuring 17 others. This killing spree is the deadliest high school shooting in United States history.
Cruz was dropped off at the school by an Uber driver at 2:19 p.m., shortly before dismissal time. Cruz was carrying a rifle case and a backpack when he was spotted and recognized by a staff member who radioed a colleague that he was walking purposefully toward Building 12.
Cruz entered Building 12, containing 30 classrooms typically occupied by about 900 students and 30 teachers, armed with a legally purchased AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle. Cruz activated a fire alarm and began firing indiscriminately at students and teachers.
The shooting lasted six minutes. Cruz fired into four classrooms on the first floor, killing eleven people. Cruz then went to the second floor, where he fired into two more classrooms but did not kill anyone. On the third floor, he shot and killed six people in the hallway.
After he stopped shooting, Cruz dropped his rifle on the third floor and left the scene blending in with fleeing students. He walked to a mall, purchased a soda, then walked to a fast-food restaurant and leaving at 3:01 p.m. At 3:40 p.m., he was stopped by police in the Wyndham Lakes neighborhood, Coral Springs, 3.2 km from the school, and arrested without incident.
In 2016 and 2017, the sheriff’s office received tips about Cruz’s threats to carry out a school shooting. The FBI learned that a YouTube user with the username ‘nikolas cruz’ posted a message in September 2017 becoming a school shooter, but could not identify the user. In January 2018, someone contacted the FBI tip line with a direct complaint that Cruz had made a death threat, but the complaint was not forwarded to the local FBI office.
In March 2019, shortly after the first anniversary of the shooting, two Parkland survivors committed suicide: a former student who graduated the year before, and a student who was enrolled in the school year. Officials renewed their efforts to provide mental health support to the school community and families and noted the long-term effects of such trauma.
Witnesses identified Cruz, a 19-year-old former student at the school, as the assailant. Cruz fled the scene on foot by blending with other students. Cruz was arrested without incident about an hour later in nearby Coral Springs. Cruz confessed to being the perpetrator.
Anthony Borges, the young man credited with saving up to 20 lives during the school rampage, does not believe he is a hero. He simply feels lucky to be alive.
I thought I was going to die and closed the door. I did it because, as I was going to die, I wanted to give my last moment to the people so they could save themselves and enjoy life longer.
Borges was shot five times during the school shooting. He barricaded a classroom door and used his body as a shield as the bullets flew, protecting a class full of students from harm.
I like to play soccer every day. I try hard to do my best.