Florida High School teen gunman who shot dead 17 people at the high school is believed to have set off the fire alarms to cause chaos and draw students out into the halls before he opened fire.
Nikolas Cruz, 19, stormed Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Wednesday afternoon armed with an assault rifle.
Broward Sheriff Scott Israel said Cruz was a former student at the school but had been expelled for unknown ‘disciplinary reasons’ last year.
Cruz was armed with at least one AR-15 rifle, had ‘multiple magazines’ and smoke grenades when he stormed the school wearing a gas mask, according to the sheriff.
Investigators are now looking into whether Cruz may have pulled the fire alarm to draw people into halls so he could get a higher death toll.
The first victim of the mass shooting has been identified as 46-year-old athletic director Chris Hixon.
A number of students have said they thought they heard the fire alarm right before the first shots were fired. The school had already had a fire drill earlier that day, leaving many of the students confused.
Authorities have already started dissecting his social media accounts and reported that some of things he had been posting was ‘very disturbing’.
Traumatized students said that once they heard reports of a mass shooting at the school they knew it would be Cruz, while one teacher said he had been identified as a potential threat to his classmates last year.
Matthew Walker, a 17-year-old student at the school, told WFOR-TV that all his classmates ‘knew it was going to be him.’
‘A lot of people were saying it was going to be him,’ he said. ‘A lot of kids threw jokes around saying that he was going to be the one to shoot up the school. It turns out that everyone predicted it. That’s crazy.’
‘He was going class to class just shooting at random kids,’ he said. ‘Everything he posts (on social media) is about weapons. It’s sick.’
Math teacher Jim Gard, who taught Cruz last year, told the Miami Herald: ‘We were told last year that he wasn’t allowed on campus with a backpack on him. There were problems with him last year threatening students and I guess he was asked to leave campus.’
Another student took to social media claiming Cruz had mental health issues that were ‘ignored by all the adults’.
‘He literally had an Instagram where he posted pictures of animals he killed gruesomely and he physically assaulted one of my friends once,’ the student added.
Police said the gunman started firing before he entered the school building and left behind a deadly trail.
Twelve of the people shot dead were found dead inside the school building, two more were killed just outside the school and another in a nearby street. Two other people died later after being rushed to hospital.