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17 killed as expelled ex-student goes on shooting spree in US school

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

An expelled former student armed with a powerful assault rifle unleashed a hail of gunfire in a high school, killing at least 17 people and injuring over a dozen others, including an Indian-American student, in one of the deadliest mass shootings in the US.

The 19-year-old suspect identified as Nikolas Cruz, a former student at in Parkland who was expelled for disciplinary reasons, was arrested shortly after the deadly rampage yesterday.

The school has a large number of Indian-American students and at least one student from the community sustained minor injures after he was hit by splinters.

The ninth grader is being treated at a hospital.

Cruz was a troubled teenager who posted disturbing material on before the shooting spree, officials said.

"This is a terrible day for Parkland," said, speaking of the city of about 30,000 people, located 80 kilometers north of

"was the killer. He is in custody. We already began to dissect his websites and that he was on ... some of the things that come to mind are very, very disturbing," he told reporters at a conference in

"He had countless magazines, multiple magazines, and at this point, we believe he had one rifle," he said. Reports said he was also equipped with a and smoke grenades.

According to investigators, Cruz pulled the fire alarm to draw people out of classrooms and increase the number of casualties, the reported. But the school already had a fire drill earlier in the day, leading some to think it was a false alarm.

Israel said Cruz was expelled from the school for disciplinary reasons.

"I don't know the specifics," the said. However, according to media reports, Cruz was expelled last year after a fight with his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend.

The gunfire began outside the school and continued inside, where 12 of the victims were killed, Israel said. All of those victims have been identified, he said, but no identities will be made public until the families of all of those affected have been notified.

Israel, however, could not confirm the number of victim students.

Authorities said several victims were being treated in the hospital. Three of them are in critical condition.

"This is a sad day for the country and the community. We all Indian-Americans are praying for the victims," Shekar Reddy, whose friend's son was among those injured in the mass shooting, told

Parkland, with a population of 31,000 in 2016, was named Florida's safest city last year, according to one analysis.

It is the deadliest since 26 people were killed at school in 2012.

The FBI is assisting local officials in the probe. Federal and local authorities told that there was no indication that the gunman had an accomplice or accomplices.

offered his "prayers and condolences to the families of the victims.

"My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible shooting. No child, or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school," Trump tweeted.

The incident revived debate over gun control in the US.

Florida Senator termed it as "a horrific scene" playing out at a high school in

"Turn on your television right now, you're going to see scenes of children running for their lives. It's what looks to be the [18]th in this country, and we have not even hit March," he said on the floor.

The mass shooting, said to be 18th of the year, have rekindled the debate on the controversial gun control legislation in the US.

Murphy rued at the incident, claiming it was a fallout of "our inaction".

Every day in this country, 46 children are shot, said Congressman

"Every day in this country, seven children die from gun Those statistics do not occur in any other high-income country on this planet," he said, urging the members of the US to use their "power to make the world safer for all children."

said another American community is reeling from the horror of gun violence, perpetrated against innocent school children.

"Too many families have lost someone to the senseless epidemic of gun has a moral responsibility to take common-sense action to prevent the daily tragedy of gun in communities across Enough is enough," Pelosi said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, February 15 2018. 14:00 IST