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Saturday
Feb172018

Hundreds protest outside NRA headquarters following Florida school shooting

iStock/Thinkstock(FAIRFAX, Va.) -- More than 100 protesters stood outside the National Rifle Association headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia, on Friday night demanding action on gun control in the wake of Wednesday's school shooting in Florida.

Among the attendees were friends of some of the 17 students and teachers who were killed in Parkland, Florida; Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va.; and relatives of those shot and killed at Virginia Tech in 2007.

"Children are dead because of you," Connolly said of the NRA, in comments reported by ABC's Washington, D.C. affiliate WJLA-TV.

One of the attendees at the vigil was the friend of Nicholas Dworet, a 17-year-old senior at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School who was killed in Wednesday's shooting. Dworet had committed to the University of Indianapolis swim team.

"I'm burying my best friend next week," the teen, who did not want to be identified, told WJLA-TV. "I cheered with these people, and I cheered with one of these girls. Now I have to bury my best friend who is committed to the University of Indianapolis for swimming. I grew up with him."

Peter Reed, whose daughter Mary was among the 32 people killed in a shooting at Virginia Tech in April 2007, said the shooting on Wednesday brought back horrible memories.

"It very quickly takes us back to where we were in April of 2007. It's numbing. It's maddening," Read told WJLA-TV.

The NRA, a regular financial backer of Republican politicians, has not commented on Wednesday's deadly shooting. The NRA has defended sales of the AR-15, the semi-automatic weapon used in Parkland and a number of other mass shootings.

The NRA said the AR-15 has "soared in popularity" because it is "customizable, adaptable, reliable and accurate" and "can be used in sport shooting, hunting and self-defense situations."

Flags were flying at half-staff outside NRA headquarters on Friday.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Feb172018

Five killed as semitrailer plows into cars in fiery crash on California freeway

KABC-TV(RIALTO, Calif.) -- Five people are dead after the driver of a tractor-trailer lost control on the 10 freeway in Railto, California, plowed through the median and into oncoming vehicles on the other side of the road.

Authorities told Los Angeles ABC station KABC-TV that at least five people were killed in the fiery accident that shut down the freeway on both sides for hours. In addition to the semi, at least three other vehicles were involved in the crash, including a motorcycle.

Video and photos shot by onlookers showed the trailer on its side and consumed by flames. All that remained by the evening were the burned-out hulks of the trailer and several other vehicles.

The truck lost control while driving down the westbound side and plowed into traffic coming toward the driver on the eastbound side. The eastbound lanes were expected to be closed until 3 a.m., KABC-TV reported.

KABC said it was still unclear what caused the trailer to lose control.

Rialto, California, is about an hour east of Los Angeles.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Feb162018

High school shooting suspect would plead guilty to avoid death penalty: Defense attorney 

Broward County Sheriff(PARKLAND, Fla.) -- A lawyer for Nikolas Cruz, the young man accused of gunning down 17 people at a Florida high school, told ABC News he is willing to have his client plead guilty immediately in return for the prosecution agreeing to take the death penalty off the table.

Cruz, 19, would instead have a life sentence, said Broward County public defender Howard Finkelstein.

Finkelstein told ABC News in a detailed phone interview that his decision is based on the reality that the facts are not in question and that Cruz’s alleged crimes occurred after an apparent series of breakdowns of systems like law enforcement, social services and education.

Finkelstein said he has not yet notified prosecutors of his offer but plans to this weekend.

A trial would serve no purpose but to prolong the inevitable instead of allowing the community to start the process of healing, Finkelstein said.

"We have an opportunity to begin to put this behind us, to help the victims’ families as much as we can and begin to heal as a community,” Finkelstein said.

“It comes down to one simple question: Does he live or does he die?” Finkelstein said.

Finkelstein said an insanity plea "is not a viable path."

"Even if somebody is severely insane, when there’s mass destruction and mass carnage, not guilty by insanity" is extremely rare, he said.

"This is not a case for lawyer games. Everybody knows what happened. There’s no question about whether he committed this act. And there’s no question of whether this is the most horrific act ever in Broward County -- it is," he said.

Finkelstein also pointed the blame at others.

"The school system failed. The mental health system failed. DCF [The Department of Children and Families], our social service agencies failed. Law enforcement failed because every red flag was present. And the FBI apparently failed," he said. "And the security measures for somebody to buy guns failed. Every single system was ignorant or willfully blind.

"It seems to me that this kid was screaming for help in every which way -- he was failed," Finkelstein said, adding, "That’s not an excuse in any way.”

Cruz was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder after the Valentine's Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Investigators believe approximately 150 shots were fired, a law enforcement source told ABC News.

Cruz -- a former student at the school -- slipped away from the campus after the shooting by blending in with other students who were trying to escape, police said. After a tense manhunt, he was apprehended.

The FBI said Friday that proper protocol was not followed in following up on a tip about Cruz.

A person close to Cruz called an FBI tip line on Jan. 5 with information about Cruz's desire to kill people, erratic behavior, disturbing social media posts, as well as the potential of him conducting a school shooting, according to an FBI statement.

“We have determined that these protocols were not followed for the information received by the PAL on January 5. The information was not provided to the Miami field office, and no further investigation was conducted at that time,” the FBI said in a statement on Friday.

FBI director Christopher Wray said the agency is still investigating and regrets any additional pain the information could cause to victims.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Feb162018

Florida governor calls on FBI director to resign after flub on school shooting tip

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The FBI says proper protocol was not followed in following up on a tip about Nikolas Cruz, the suspect in the mass shooting at a South Florida high school on Wednesday that left 17 people dead. A law enforcement source told ABC News that investigators believe approximately 150 shots were fired in the incident.

A person close to Cruz called an FBI tip line on Jan. 5 with information about Cruz's desire to kill people, erratic behavior, disturbing social media posts, as well as the potential of him conducting a school shooting, according to an FBI statement.

“We have determined that these protocols were not followed for the information received by the PAL on January 5. The information was not provided to the Miami field office, and no further investigation was conducted at that time,” the FBI said in a statement Friday.

FBI director Christopher Wray said the agency is still investigating and regrets any additional pain the information could cause to victims.

“I am committed to getting to the bottom of what happened in this particular matter, as well as reviewing our processes for responding to information that we receive from the public. It’s up to all Americans to be vigilant, and when members of the public contact us with concerns, we must act properly and quickly," Wray said in the statement.

The Broward Sheriff's Office received "20 calls for service over the last few years" regarding Cruz, Broward Sheriff Scott Israel said at a news conference on Friday.

"We will continue to follow up as we do with any investigation. We want to try to find out why this killer did what he did, what we can learn from it and how we can keep our kids safe moving forward. So everyone of those calls to service will be looked at and scrutinized," Israel said.

He warned, "If we find out like in any investigation that one of our deputies or call-takers could have done something better or was remiss, I'll handle it accordingly."

Israel added, "A call for service simply means that our dispatch center received a call. Doesn't mean we went out on something. Could have been a telephonic contact with a deputy, a person in another state or we might have gone out there."

In a statement, Florida Gov. Rick Scott called on the FBI director to resign. “The FBI’s failure to take action against this killer is unacceptable," he said. “... We constantly promote ‘see something, say something,’ and a courageous person did just that to the FBI. And the FBI failed to act. ‘See something, say something’ is an incredibly important tool and people must have confidence in the follow through from law enforcement. The FBI director needs to resign.”

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., also slammed the FBI, saying the agency "utterly failed the families of 17 innocent souls."

“The fact that the FBI is investigating this failure is not enough," Rubio said in a statement. "Both the House and Senate need to immediately initiate their own investigations into the FBI’s protocols for ensuring tips from the public about potential killers are followed through."

In the wake of the news, Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered a review of the process at the Justice Department and FBI "to ensure that we reach the highest level of prompt and effective response to indications of potential violence that come to us."

“We will make this a top priority. It has never been more important to encourage every person in every community to spot the warning signs and alert law enforcement," he said in a statement. Do not assume someone else will step up -- all of us must be vigilant. Our children's lives depend on it.”

Robert Lasky, the FBI special agent in charge of the Miami division, said Friday the FBI regrets "any additional pain that this has caused."

"The men and women that work in the Miami field office are part of this community. We walk the same streets. Our children attend the same schools to include Stoneman Douglas," Lasky said. "We worship in the same places. We are part of this community. As this community hurts, so do we."

Israel added that the "only one to blame for this incident is the killer himself."

Hannah Carbocci, a 17-year-old junior, told ABC affiliate WPLG-TV that she was in a first-floor classroom when shots rang out.

Carbocci said the gunman "shot through the door and the glass shattered. I was under my teacher's desk so I was really hoping that I would be OK. Not knowing if my classmates would be OK or not really scared me. "   "We had four to six people injured in our classroom, and two of them have been confirmed that they passed away," she said. "It was a horrible experience, the sounds that you hear, the sights that you see. When you’re walking out of the building you see people in the hallways laying there dead that you know, that you went to classes with, and you went to school with, and you saw them every single day.

"Once I was out of the building I knew I was OK, but I kicked my shoes off and I ran as fast as I could," she said. "My dad picked me up on the side of the road. He works for the Broward Sheriff's Office. I broke down in tears when I saw him."

Cruz was arrested after the Valentine's Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.

Cruz -- a former student there -- slipped away from the campus by blending in with other students who were trying to escape, police said. After a tense manhunt, he was apprehended.

He briefly appeared in court Thursday and was held on no bond.

Brody Speno, a neighbor who spent nearly a decade living a few doors down from Cruz, told ABC News that the suspected shooter was "aggressive, crazy weird, psycho."

Speno said he remembers one day when Cruz suddenly "cornered a squirrel and was pegging it with rocks trying to kill it."

Another neighbor, Malcolm Roxburgh, said Cruz would attack pets.

He called Cruz a "strange character" who always stood out from other teenagers in the neighborhood.

Roxburgh's most vivid memory of Cruz is his roaming the streets. Even in South Florida's sweltering heat, Roxburgh said, Cruz occasionally walked around in a camouflage jacket.

Public defender Melisa McNeill, who appeared with Cruz in court Thursday, called him a "broken child."

"My children they go to school in this community and I feel horrible for these families," McNeill said, adding, "and Mr. Cruz feels that pain."

The firearm used is a Smith & Wesson M&P 15, a variant of the popular AR-15 rifle. Law enforcement sources said the suspect bought the rifle himself nearly a year ago and investigators believe no laws were broken in the purchase or sale of the weapon.

The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is looking at whether Cruz had any help or accomplices.

“Our goal is to figure out, how did this gun get into his hands?” ATF Special Agent in Charge Peter Forcelli told ABC News.

Investigators are continuing to look into Cruz’s mental health history. Law enforcement sources told ABC News that Cruz told investigators he had been hearing voices in his head that directed him to conduct the attack.

Under federal law, any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or “committed to a mental institution” is prohibited from shipping, transporting, receiving or possessing any firearm or ammunition punishable by a $250,000 and/or 10 years in prison. That adjudication must be done by a court, board, commission or other lawful authority that determines if a person as a result of “subnormal intelligence, mental illness, incompetency, condition or disease” is a danger to himself or others, lacks mental capacity to conduct their own affairs, are found insane by a court in a criminal case, or incompetent to stand trial because they lack mental responsibility.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Feb162018

Florida high school massacre: Portraits of the 17 victims

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(PARKLAND, Fla.) -- From a beloved football coach to college-bound high school seniors, 17 people lost their lives in a mass shooting at a South Florida high school Wednesday.

More than a dozen others were injured in the Valentine's Day rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The suspect, a former student, was arrested.

Here is what we know about the 17 victims:

Scott Beigel, 35

Teacher Scott Beigel died while saving others, according to student Kelsey Friend.

Friend told "Good Morning America" that Beigel unlocked a classroom door and started letting students inside.

"I had thought he was behind me ... but he wasn't," Friend said, crying.

"When he opened the door, he had to re-lock it so we can stay safe. And he didn't get the chance to," Friend said, noting that her teacher was lying on the floor.

"I'm so thankful he was there to help everybody," she added.

Gina Montalto, 14

Gina Montalto also died in the shooting, her mother, Jennifer Montalto, said in a Facebook post.

"She was a smart, loving, caring, and strong girl who brightened any room she entered. She will be missed by our family for all eternity," the post said.

Nicholas Dworet, 17

"The family is heartbroken and devastated to have lost Nicholas," the family of Nicholas Dworet said in a statement. "He was a happy young man full of joy and life."

"He was extremely passionate about swimming," the family said, and "Nicholas was thrilled to be going to University of Indianapolis to join their swim team. He dreamed of making the Olympic swim team and going to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. He believed he could accomplish anything as long as he tried his best."

Robert Manuel, president of the University of Indianapolis, where Dworet would have attended this fall, said in a statement, "Nick’s death is a reminder that we are connected to the larger world, and when tragedy hits in places around the world, it oftentimes affects us at home. Today, and in the coming days, I hope you will hold Nick, his family, all of the victims, as well as the Parkland community and first responders in your prayers."

Christopher Hixon, 49

Athletic director and head wrestling coach Christopher Hixon was among the victims, said Coral Springs High School athletic director Dan Jacob.

“Chris is probably the nicest guy I have ever met. He would give you the shirt off his back," Jacob said. "Chris has a son with Down syndrome. He put needs of everyone else before his own."

"It is so senseless," he added.

Jaime Guttenberg, 14

Jaime Guttenberg, 14, was among the dead.

Her father, Fred Guttenberg, was overcome with emotion as he spoke of her death at a place where "she was supposed to be safe."

"My job is to protect my children," Fred Guttenberg said at a vigil Thursday, his voice cracking. "And I sent my kid to school."

"In the morning sometimes things get so crazy, she runs out behind and she's like, 'I got to go, Dad, bye.' And I don't always get to say, 'I love you,'" Guttenberg said at the vigil. "I don't remember if I said that to Jaime yesterday morning."

"Jaime was such a special kid. All of the kids here are. What is unfathomable is Jaime took a bullet and is dead," he said, his voice trembling. "I don't know what I do next. My wife is home. We are broken. But I can tell you -- don't tell me there is no such thing as gun violence."

To the children at the vigil, Guttenberg said, "When you look at us parents like we are crazy, like we are trying too hard to protect you, like we are trying too hard to tell you what not to do ... just remember it's because we love you and we never want to go through the tragedy of losing you."

To the parents, he said, "love your kids, hold your kids, kiss your kids. And don't ever, ever miss the chance to tell them how much you love them."

Martin Duque Anguiano, 14

Martin Duque Anguiano, a 14-year-old freshman, was among those killed. His older brother Miguel, who graduated from the same school last year, wrote on Instagram, "Words can not describe my pain. I love brother Martin you’ll be missed buddy. I know you’re in a better place."

Aaron Feis, 37


School football coach and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School graduate Aaron Feis was one of the 17 killed, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said.

"When Aaron Feis died ... he did it protecting others, guarantee that because that's who Aaron Feis was," Israel told reporters. "He was one of the greatest people I knew. He was a phenomenal man."

The sheriff described Feis as a beloved football coach who was well-known in the local community.

"I coached with him. My two boys played for him," Israel said. "The kids in this community loved him, adored him."

Ryan Mackman of West Palm Beach said he grew up in Parkland and graduated with Feis from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 1999.

"I never thought something like this could happen," Mackman, now 37, told ABC News Thursday. "The whole community is just stunned."

Mackman said he heard from other former classmates who were close with Feis that he was apparently shot while shielding students from the spray of bullets.

"He was always a really good guy," Mackman said. "But the fact that he died saving lives, the guy's a hero. There's no two ways about it. He was always a giving guy, he was always there for people, he had a big heart. That showed all the way to the end."

The school's football team wrote on Twitter, "He died a hero and he will forever be in our hearts and memories."

Alyssa Alhadeff, 14

Alyssa Alhadeff, 14, was among the dead, said her older cousin, Ariella Del Quaglio, who wrote on Facebook, "My heart is broken."

"Alyssa Alhadeff was a loved and well respected member of our club and community," according to Ryan Block of the Parkland Soccer Club.

"Alyssa will be greatly missed," Block said. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family and all the other victims of this tragic event."

Her mother, Lori Alhadeff, with tears on her face, made an emotional plea in an HLN interview Thursday, urging action. "President Trump, please do something! Do something. Action! We need it now! These kids need safety now!" she said.

"How do we allow a gunman to come into our children's school? How do they get through security? What security is there?" Lori Alhadeff screamed. "The gunman -- a crazy person -- just walks right into the school, knocks down the window of my child's door and starts shooting. Shooting her! And killing her!"

Meadow Pollack, 18


Meadow Pollack, 18, "was a beautiful girl, inside and out," her cousin, Jake Maisner, said, according to The Sun Sentinel.

Pollack was the youngest of 10 grandchildren, Maisner said.

“She was the baby of the family," he said, according to the Sentinel. "Everyone wanted to protect her."

Pollack had been accepted to Lynn University in Boca Raton, according to WPLG-TV.

"Meadow was a lovely young woman, who was full of energy," said university spokeswoman Jamie D'Aria, according to WPLG-TV. "We were very much looking forward to having her join our community in the fall."

Joaquin Oliver, 17

Joaquin Oliver, who was born in Venezuela, became a proud United States citizen in January of 2017, WPLG-TV reported.

The teen loved Florida State University, football, basketball and Venezuela’s national soccer team, the station said.

WPLG-TV said his last social media post was to his girlfriend. "Thank you lord for putting a greater blessing than I could ever imagine into my life this past year,” he wrote. "I love you with all my heart.”

Cara Loughran, 14


Cara Loughran, a freshman, was killed in the massacre.

"I never got to say goodbye to her," Loughran's friend, Mackenzie Mirsky, told WPLG-TV. "She was such a sweet girl."

"I can't close my eyes without thinking of my friend," Mirsky said.

Luke Hoyer, 15

Fifteen-year-old victim Luke Hoyer was "an amazing individual," said his cousin, Grant Cox, according to CNN. "Always happy, always smiling. His smile was contagious, and so was his laugh."

Relative Mary Beth Stroud-Gibbs wrote on Facebook, "Our whole family is devastated by this senseless shooting that our young Luke lost his precious life."

"Luke was a precious child, who just went to school yesterday not knowing what was to come," she said. "We now need all of your prayers for acceptance of this tragedy, understanding and healing our broken hearts."

Alexander Schachter, 14

Freshman Alexander Schachter was a talented trombone and baritone player in his high school marching band and orchestra, said Alexander Kaminsky, the school director of bands, the Sun Sentinel reported.

“The improvement I witnessed from him was admirable and inspiring,” Kaminsky told the newspaper. “I felt he really had a bright future on the trombone.”

Schachter's mother died at an early age and his older brother survived the shooting rampage, the newspaper said.

Of Schachter's father, Kaminsky said, "I know this was devastating for him.”

Peter Wang, 15

Peter Wang's friend, Gabriel Ammirata, said in a statement, "I've known him ever since he's moved from China in the 3rd grade." The boys, who had been friends since middle school, bonded over anime movies.

The day of the shooting, Ammirata said, "I knew his fourth period class was in the freshman building. When I got out I texted him and I did everything I could to contact him but I got no answer. I got sent on a bus to the Marriott as did every other student. Once I was done at the Marriott I went home then later met up with his family."

"I saw his mom, dad and little brother as well as little cousin at the Marriott," Ammirata said. "Later in the evening two of his older cousins came. ... We went to two hospitals to check if Peter was there."

Ammirata later learned the tragic news from Wang's mother.

"I want to know the full details of my best friend. I want to know where he was at the time of passing," Ammirata said.


Alaina Petty, 14


Helena Ramsay, 17

"Helena was a smart, kind hearted, and thoughtful person," who would have started college next year, relative Curtis Page Jr. wrote on Facebook.

"She was deeply loved and loved others even more so. Though she was some what reserved, she had a relentless motivation towards her academic studies, and her soft warm demeanor brought the best out in all who knew her," he wrote. "She was so brilliant and witty, and I’m still wrestling with the idea that she is actually gone."

Carmen Schentrup, 16

Victim Carmen Schentrup was the "smartest and most intelligible 16 year old I’ve ever met," her cousin Matt Brandow wrote on Facebook.

The teen wanted to attend the University of Washington, he said.

"I feel a million emotions," Brandow wrote. "I love you with all my heart and I’m going to miss you every single living day. I would switch places with you in a second."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Feb162018

Emotional dad of teen killed at school: 'I don't remember' if I said 'I love you' daughter's last morning

ABCNews.com(PARKLAND, Fla.) -- The distraught father of a 14-year-old gunned down in her Florida high school was overcome with emotion as he spoke of her death at a place where "she was supposed to be safe."

"My job is to protect my children," Fred Guttenberg said at a vigil Thursday, his voice cracking. "And I sent my kid to school."

Seventeen people, including students, a teacher and a football coach, lost their lives in the Valentine's Day rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The suspect, a former student, was arrested and has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.

Jaime Guttenberg, 14, was among the dead.

"In the morning sometimes things get so crazy, she runs out behind and she's like, 'I got to go, Dad, bye.' And I don't always get to say, 'I love you,'" Guttenberg said at the vigil. "I don't remember if I said that to Jaime yesterday morning."

"Jaime was such a special kid. All of the kids here are. What is unfathomable is Jaime took a bullet and is dead," he said, his voice trembling. "I don't know what I do next. My wife is home. We are broken. But I can tell you -- don't tell me there is no such thing as gun violence."

To the children at the vigil, Guttenberg said, "When you look at us parents like we are crazy, like we are trying too hard to protect you, like we are trying too hard to tell you what not to do ... just remember it's because we love you and we never want to go through the tragedy of losing you."

To the parents, he said, "love your kids, hold your kids, kiss your kids. And don't ever, ever miss the chance to tell them how much you love them."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Feb162018

Funerals begin for victims gunned down at Florida high school

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(PARKLAND, Fla.) -- Distraught teens dressed in black were seen wiping away tears as they left the funeral of a classmate killed in a Valentine's Day massacre at a South Florida high school.

Services began Friday for the victims who were gunned down at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Wednesday.

The service for Alyssa Alhadeff, 14, was held Friday morning.

Seventeen people -- including students, a teacher and a football coach -- who were killed in the rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The suspect, a former student, was arrested and has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.

Alyssa's mother, Lori Alhadeff, with tears on her face, made an emotional plea in an HLN interview Thursday, urging action. "President Trump, please do something! Do something. Action! We need it now! These kids need safety now!" she said.

"How do we allow a gunman to come into our children's school? How do they get through security? What security is there?" Lori Alhadeff said, according to CNN. "The gunman -- a crazy person -- just walks right into the school, knocks down the window of my child's door and starts shooting. Shooting her -- and killing her!"

The funeral for Meadow Pollack, 18, a college-bound senior, was set for Friday afternoon.

The 18-year-old was "a beautiful girl, inside and out," her cousin Jake Maisner said, according to The Sun Sentinel.

Meadow was the youngest of 10 grandchildren, Maisner said.

“She was the baby of the family," he said, according to the Sentinel. "Everyone wanted to protect her."

Pollack had been accepted to Lynn University in Boca Raton, according to ABC affiliate WPLG-TV.

"Meadow was a lovely young woman who was full of energy," said university spokeswoman Jamie D'Aria, according to WPLG-TV. "We were very much looking forward to having her join our community in the fall."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Feb162018

Florida suspect said he heard voices telling him to carry out massacre, sources say

Broward County Sheriff(PARKLAND, Fla.) -- The 19-year-old who is accused of killing 17 people and injuring dozens more when he opened fire on a South Florida high school Wednesday afternoon told investigators that he heard voices in his head, giving him instructions on what to do to conduct the attack, law enforcement sources told ABC News.

The voices were described as "demons" by law enforcement sources.

Those who knew suspect Nikolas Cruz described him as a troubled teen who was largely alone in the world. An attorney for the family who had taken Cruz in after his adoptive mother died said he was "depressed" following her death, but had been going to therapy, while a student who participated in Junior ROTC with Cruz described him as a "psycho" who was enthusiastic about weapons.

Cruz was apprehended by police more than an hour after he was dropped off on campus by an Uber, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said in a press conference on Thursday.

After Cruz was apprehended and read his Miranda rights, he allegedly stated to authorities that he was the gunman who entered the school with an AR-15-style rifle and began shooting students he saw in the hallways and on school grounds, according to a probable-cause affidavit from the Broward County Sheriff's Office. He also allegedly stated that he brought additional loaded magazines to campus and kept them hidden in a backpack until he got there and began the attack, the affidavit states.

Broward Health hospitals received 17 patients after Wednesday's shooting. As of Friday morning, those hospitals had one patient in critical condition, seven patients in fair condition and one patient in good condition, according to a statement from Broward Health.

Cruz attended Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School from Jan. 13, 2016, to Feb. 8, 2017, according to school records obtained by ABC Miami affiliate WPLG-TV.

Cruz had bought the weapon allegedly used on the crime just three days after his last day attending the school -- on Feb. 11 -- and picked it up one week later on Feb. 18, 2017, following a background check, an attorney for the gun store owner said in a statement.

An assault involving Cruz occurred on Jan. 19, 2017, the records show. On that same day, he was suspended for one day and a threat assessment was ordered for him. He had been suspended for two days one month earlier. It is unclear what the result of the threat assessment was or whether one was even conducted.

School officials declined to answer questions about Cruz's record, citing privacy rules.

Here is the timeline of how the shooting unfolded on Wednesday, according to authorities:

2:06 p.m.

An Uber driver picks up Cruz, according to a timeline from the Broward County Sheriff's Office.

2:19 p.m.

Cruz allegedly dropped off on campus by an Uber driver, around the time students were to be dismissed for the day.

2:21:18 p.m.

Cruz enters Building 12 by the east stairwell with a black rifle stashed inside a black, soft case.

2:21:30 p.m.

Cruz exits stairwell and removes the rifle from the rifle case.

2:21:33 p.m.

Cruz allegedly readies his rifle before shooting methodically into classrooms 1215, 1216 and 1214. He then went back and shot into rooms 1216, 1215 and 1213, Israel said.

2:24:39 p.m.

Cruz then takes the west stairwell to the second floor and shoots one victim in room 1234, Israel said.

2:27:37 p.m.

Cruz takes the east stairwell to the third floor, drops his rifle and backpack, and runs down the stairs.

2:28:35 p.m.

Cruz exits Building 12 and runs toward the tennis courts.

2:29:51 p.m.

Cruz takes a southbound turn on foot, crosses a field and runs west, attempting to blend into groups of his former classmates as they fled the scene, "fearing for their lives," Israel said.

2:50 p.m.

Cruz arrives at a Walmart near the school, Israel said. There, he purchased a drink at the Subway before leaving the Walmart on foot.

3:01 p.m.

Cruz went to McDonald's and sat there for a short period of time before leaving on foot, Israel said.

3:41 p.m.

Cruz is detained without incident, Israel said.

The officer who detained him, Michael Leonard of the Coconut Creek Police Department, said in an earlier press conference Thursday that he spotted someone matching the description of the shooting suspect in a residential neighborhood in Coral Springs, near the school.

Cruz looked like a "typical high school kid," Leonard said. After he saw him, he "immediately" pulled over his vehicle, and Cruz complied with his orders, he said. Cruz was then positively identified by homicide detectives from the Broward County Sheriff's Office and taken into custody.

Thursday afternoon

Cruz makes a brief court appearance. He is charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder and is being held at the Broward County Jail without bond.

Multiple vigils were being held in the Parkland area Thursday in memory of the victims who died in the attack.

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Friday
Feb162018

Players, coaches grieve loss of 'hero' coach in Florida school shooting

Courtesy Ryan Mackman(PARKLAND, Fla.) -- A Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School football player who joined teammates and coaches in an interview that aired Friday on Good Morning America remembered slain coach and campus monitor Aaron Feis as “one of the best guys I know.”

Feis, who was among the 17 people whom a former student allegedly killed Wednesday in a shooting rampage, died while saving lives, according to authorities, who were unable to provide details.

But the particulars don’t matter to grieving players such as Robbie Rodriquez, a junior on the football team.

The coach, 37, was “one of the best guys I know -- just open-hearted, open to anyone, always there for people."

Others players expressed similar sentiments.

“Say someone messed up; he wouldn't come over screaming at you,” sophomore Gage Gaynor told Good Morning America. “He'd come over, tell you what you did wrong, tell you how you could do it right.”

Teammate Patrick Scullen, a junior, called Feis a “great coach" and "great man.”

“He always put a smile on my face every single day,” Patrick added.

Team head coach Willis May shared his shock on hearing the news, adding that it will be tough to return to coaching without Feis by his side.

“I didn't want to believe it. I didn't want it to be true,” May said, adding, "Things are going to be real hard to go back to school and not see my buddy.”

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, who confirmed the death Thursday morning, said Feis died "protecting others -- guarantee that because that's who Aaron Feis was. He was one of the greatest people I knew. He was a phenomenal man."

The sheriff described Feis as a beloved football coach who was well-known in the local community.

"I coached with him. My two boys played for him," Israel said. "The kids in this community loved him, adored him."

The alleged shooter, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, was arrested for premeditated murder and held without bond Thursday afternoon, authorities said. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School remains closed on Friday, according to Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie.

Cruz had been expelled from the high school for unspecified disciplinary reasons, authorities said. A former classmate and a former teacher told ABC News that Cruz was barred from carrying a backpack on campus prior to his expulsion.

Wednesday's school shooting is among the deadliest in U.S. history. Cruz allegedly used an AR-15-style rifle that he legally purchased within the past year from a federally licensed dealer, law enforcement officials told ABC News.

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Friday
Feb162018

How a temporary restraining order for guns could help stop mass shootings

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- One relatively unknown tool for stopping gun violence may soon get a lot more attention.

An extreme risk protection order (ERPO) empowers family members and police to take guns away from a person who may pose a danger to themselves or others. The person's access to firearms is blocked until they can demonstrate that the risk is over. Essentially, ERPOs are a temporary restraining order for guns.

As of now, only Washington, California, Connecticut and, most recently, Oregon have ERPO laws, while Indiana and Texas have modified risk warrant statutes. Over the past year, however, spurred by a string of mass shootings -- beginning with the Pulse nightclub attack that killed 49 in June 2016 -- legislatures in 19 states and Washington, D.C., have taken up 32 separate ERPO bills for consideration, according to Everytown for Gun Safety, a nonprofit organization that advocates for gun control.

Everytown’s deputy legal director, William Rosen, told ABC News that list will grow. “We expect to see at least as much interest in 2018,” he said.

“There is a growing consensus that this is the first step we should be taking when we are talking about people who are at risk of hurting themselves or others,” said Lauren Alfred of the gun violence prevention group Sandy Hook Promise.

Current laws barring gun ownership are limited. Generally, a person with a long history of mental health issues can still legally buy or possess firearms if they don’t fall into specific statutory categories such as having been adjudicated mentally ill or under a domestic violence restraining order. But, as was the case with Texas church gunman Devin Kelley, even these restrictions may not work if the person’s troubled past is not recorded on a background registry.

With an ERPO, however, if family members or police can show a gun owner to be an imminent danger to themselves or others, they can force the person to surrender their weapon(s).

Mass murderers such as Aaron Alexis, who killed 12 at the Washington Navy Yard, or Elliot Rodger, who slaughtered six in Isla Vista, California, are cited by experts as people who might have been halted by ERPOs.

"Those were both cases where law enforcement believed those shooters might be a threat to their workplaces or people they knew,” Alfred said. “But law enforcement felt like their hands were tied."

Where ERPOs are believed to be most often effective is in stemming suicides. For example, Everytown cites a study of the law in Connecticut -- where it has been in place the longest --  that states that from 1999 to 2013, "for every 10 or 11 gun removal cases, one suicide was averted -- an estimated 72 averted suicides.”

While there is a clear spike in the number of states considering ERPOs, efforts to implement these laws have faced significant resistance from those who want to protect constitutional rights to gun ownership.

As Oregon’s state legislature was considering its ERPO law this summer, the National Rifle Association said in a statement that the bill “would allow people who are not mental health professionals, who may be mistaken and who may only have minimal contact with the respondent to file a petition with the court and testify on the respondent’s state of mind.”

The ERPO “strips the accused of their Second Amendment rights" and "would be issued by a judge based on the brief statement of the petitioner,” the NRA's statement added.

The answer to such concerns embedded in these laws is that courts must show “substantial evidence” that a person is a risk to themselves or to others. In addition, the removal of the firearm is only temporary -- generally a year -- unless the ERPO is renewed in a later hearing. These measures have "overcome a lot of the Second Amendment legal and political concerns," according to Alfred.

While it is impossible to determine how many of the recent shooting tragedies ERPOs could have prevented, they could have provided at least “another layer of protection,” said Rosen. “Mass shooters often display warning signs before they carry out their attacks, and ERPO provides an opportunity for family members or law enforcement to intervene before a tragedy occurs.”

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