Multiple fatalities from shooting at Florida high school

A 19-year-old man who had been expelled from his Florida high school was held on 17 counts of murder on Thursday, the morning after authorities say he opened fire at the school, unleashing one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history.

The ex-student, identified as Nikolas Cruz, 19, walked into the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Wednesday and opened fire on students and teachers, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said. Police believe he acted alone.

Cruz was being held on 17 counts of premeditated murder, according to the Broward County Sheriff’s website.

Cruz was armed with an AR-15-style rifle and had multiple ammunition magazines when he surrendered to officers in a nearby residential area, police said. He loved guns and was expelled for unspecified disciplinary reasons, police and former classmates said.

The shooting in a community about 45 miles (72 km) north of Miami was the 18th in a U.S. school this year, according to gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety, continuing a troubling pattern that has played out over the past few years.

It was the second deadliest shooting in a U.S. public elementary or high school after the 2012 massacre of 20 first-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut.

The deadliest school shooting in U.S. history was at Virginia Tech in 2007, when 32 people were killed.

The Florida shootings stirred the long-simmering U.S. debate on the right to bear arms, which are protected by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. (Reuters)

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<p>Students released from a lockdown embrace following following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo: John McCall/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP) </p>
Multiple fatalities from shooting at Florida high school

Students released from a lockdown embrace following following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo: John McCall/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

<p>A student wears a Valentine’s pin as she leaves Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, a city about 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of Miami on Feb. 14, 2018 following a school shooting.(Photo: Michele Eve Sandberg/AFP/Getty Images) </p>
Multiple fatalities from shooting at Florida high school

A student wears a Valentine’s pin as she leaves Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, a city about 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of Miami on Feb. 14, 2018 following a school shooting.(Photo: Michele Eve Sandberg/AFP/Getty Images)

<p>A man placed in handcuffs by police is wheeled on a stretcher into a hospital near Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School following a shooting incident in Parkland, Fla. on Feb. 14, 2018 in a still image taken from a video. (Photo: WSVN.com via Reuters) </p>
Multiple fatalities from shooting at Florida high school

A man placed in handcuffs by police is wheeled on a stretcher into a hospital near Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School following a shooting incident in Parkland, Fla. on Feb. 14, 2018 in a still image taken from a video. (Photo: WSVN.com via Reuters)

<p>The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is seen after a shooting at the school that reportedly killed and injured multiple people on Feb. 14, 2018 in Parkland, Florida. Numerous law enforcement officials continue to investigate the scene. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images) </p>
Multiple fatalities from shooting at Florida high school

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is seen after a shooting at the school that reportedly killed and injured multiple people on Feb. 14, 2018 in Parkland, Florida. Numerous law enforcement officials continue to investigate the scene. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

<p>An armored police vehicle arrives at Stoneman Douglas High School following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo: John McCall/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP) </p>
Multiple fatalities from shooting at Florida high school

An armored police vehicle arrives at Stoneman Douglas High School following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo: John McCall/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

<p>Parents wait for news after a reports of a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo: Joel Auerbach/AP) </p>
Multiple fatalities from shooting at Florida high school

Parents wait for news after a reports of a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo: Joel Auerbach/AP)

<p>Police and fire rescue vehicles converge on Stoneman Douglas High School following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo: John McCall/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP) </p>
Multiple fatalities from shooting at Florida high school

Police and fire rescue vehicles converge on Stoneman Douglas High School following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo: John McCall/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

<p>Students released from a lockdown walk away following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo: John McCall/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP) </p>
Multiple fatalities from shooting at Florida high school

Students released from a lockdown walk away following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo: John McCall/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

<p>Law enforcement officers block off a street following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Feb. 14, 2018, in Parkland, Fla. (Photo: Wilfredo Lee/AP) </p>
Multiple fatalities from shooting at Florida high school

Law enforcement officers block off a street following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Feb. 14, 2018, in Parkland, Fla. (Photo: Wilfredo Lee/AP)

<p>The following contains visual coverage of scenes of injury or death. </p>
Multiple fatalities from shooting at Florida high school

The following contains visual coverage of scenes of injury or death.

<p>Students are released from a lockdown following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo: John McCall/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP) </p>
Multiple fatalities from shooting at Florida high school

Students are released from a lockdown following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo: John McCall/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

<p>Medical personnel tend to a victim following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo: John McCall/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP) </p>
Multiple fatalities from shooting at Florida high school

Medical personnel tend to a victim following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo: John McCall/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

<p>Students run with their hands in the air following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo: John McCall/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP) </p>
Multiple fatalities from shooting at Florida high school

Students run with their hands in the air following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo: John McCall/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

<p>A law enforcement officer directs traffic outside the school following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo: John McCall/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP) </p>
Multiple fatalities from shooting at Florida high school

A law enforcement officer directs traffic outside the school following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo: John McCall/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

<p>People are brought out of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after a shooting at the school that reportedly killed and injured multiple people on Feb. 14, 2018 in Parkland, Fla. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images) </p>
Multiple fatalities from shooting at Florida high school

People are brought out of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after a shooting at the school that reportedly killed and injured multiple people on Feb. 14, 2018 in Parkland, Fla. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

<p>Medical personnel tend to a victim following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo: John McCall/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP) </p>
Multiple fatalities from shooting at Florida high school

Medical personnel tend to a victim following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo: John McCall/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

<p>Students released from a lockdown are overcome with emotion following following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo: John McCall/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP) </p>
Multiple fatalities from shooting at Florida high school

Students released from a lockdown are overcome with emotion following following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo: John McCall/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

<p>Students leave Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, a city about 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of Miami on Feb. 14, 2018 following a school shooting. (Photo: Michele Eve Sandberg/AFP/Getty Images) </p>
Multiple fatalities from shooting at Florida high school

Students leave Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, a city about 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of Miami on Feb. 14, 2018 following a school shooting. (Photo: Michele Eve Sandberg/AFP/Getty Images)

<p>Family member embrace following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Feb. 14, 2018, in Parkland, Fla. (Photo: Wilfredo Lee/AP) </p>
Multiple fatalities from shooting at Florida high school

Family member embrace following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Feb. 14, 2018, in Parkland, Fla. (Photo: Wilfredo Lee/AP)

<p>A law enforcement officer tells anxious family members to move back, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018, in Parkland, Fla. A shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School sent students rushing into the streets as SWAT team members swarmed in and locked down the building. Police were warning that the shooter was still at large even as ambulances converged on the scene and emergency workers appeared to be treating those possibly wounded. (Photo: Wilfredo Lee/AP) </p>
Multiple fatalities from shooting at Florida high school

A law enforcement officer tells anxious family members to move back, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018, in Parkland, Fla. A shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School sent students rushing into the streets as SWAT team members swarmed in and locked down the building. Police were warning that the shooter was still at large even as ambulances converged on the scene and emergency workers appeared to be treating those possibly wounded. (Photo: Wilfredo Lee/AP)

<p>People are brought out of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after a shooting at the school that reportedly killed and injured multiple people on Feb. 14, 2018 in Parkland, Fla. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images) </p>
Multiple fatalities from shooting at Florida high school

People are brought out of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after a shooting at the school that reportedly killed and injured multiple people on Feb. 14, 2018 in Parkland, Fla. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

<p>A gunman opened fire Wednesday afternoon at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. on Feb. 14, 2018. (Reuters) </p>
Multiple fatalities from shooting at Florida high school

A gunman opened fire Wednesday afternoon at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. on Feb. 14, 2018. (Reuters)

<p>Screengrab of the scene of a shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo: LocalABC10) </p>
Multiple fatalities from shooting at Florida high school

Screengrab of the scene of a shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo: LocalABC10)

<p>Students wait to be picked up after a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo: Wilfredo Lee/AP) </p>
Multiple fatalities from shooting at Florida high school

Students wait to be picked up after a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo: Wilfredo Lee/AP)

<p>A parent talks on cellphone waiting for news after a reports of a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo: Joel Auerbach/AP) </p>
Multiple fatalities from shooting at Florida high school

A parent talks on cellphone waiting for news after a reports of a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo: Joel Auerbach/AP)

<p>Students react at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, a city about 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of Miami on Feb. 14, 2018 following a school shooting. (Photo: Michele Eve Sandberg/AFP/Getty Images) </p>
Multiple fatalities from shooting at Florida high school

Students react at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, a city about 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of Miami on Feb. 14, 2018 following a school shooting. (Photo: Michele Eve Sandberg/AFP/Getty Images)

<p>Police and security vehicles are seen at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, a city about 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of Miami on Feb. 14, 2018 following a school shooting.<br> (Photo: Michele Eve Sandberg/AFP/Getty Images) </p>
Multiple fatalities from shooting at Florida high school

Police and security vehicles are seen at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, a city about 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of Miami on Feb. 14, 2018 following a school shooting.
(Photo: Michele Eve Sandberg/AFP/Getty Images)

<p>Screengrab of the scene of a shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo: LocalABC10) </p>
Multiple fatalities from shooting at Florida high school

Screengrab of the scene of a shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo: LocalABC10)

<p>A woman consoles another as parents wait for news regarding a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo: Joel Auerbach/AP) </p>
Multiple fatalities from shooting at Florida high school

A woman consoles another as parents wait for news regarding a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo: Joel Auerbach/AP)

<p>A man who was placed in handcuffs by police is loaded into a paramedic vehicle after a shooting incident at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, U.S. February 14, 2018 in a still image from video. (Photo: WSVN.com via Reuters) </p>
Multiple fatalities from shooting at Florida high school

A man who was placed in handcuffs by police is loaded into a paramedic vehicle after a shooting incident at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, U.S. February 14, 2018 in a still image from video. (Photo: WSVN.com via Reuters)

<p>Screengrab of the scene of a shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo: LocalABC10) </p>
Multiple fatalities from shooting at Florida high school

Screengrab of the scene of a shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo: LocalABC10)

<p>Family members embrace after a student walked out from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018, in Parkland, Fla. The shooting at the South Florida high school sent students rushing into the streets as SWAT team members swarmed in and locked down the building. Police were warning that the shooter was still at large even as ambulances converged on the scene and emergency workers appeared to be treating those possibly wounded. (Photo: Wilfredo Lee/AP) </p>
Multiple fatalities from shooting at Florida high school

Family members embrace after a student walked out from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018, in Parkland, Fla. The shooting at the South Florida high school sent students rushing into the streets as SWAT team members swarmed in and locked down the building. Police were warning that the shooter was still at large even as ambulances converged on the scene and emergency workers appeared to be treating those possibly wounded. (Photo: Wilfredo Lee/AP)

<p>Rescue workers deal with a victim near Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during a shooting incident in Parkland, Florida, U.S. February 14, 2018 in a still image from video. (Photo: WSVN.com via Reuters) </p>
Multiple fatalities from shooting at Florida high school

Rescue workers deal with a victim near Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during a shooting incident in Parkland, Florida, U.S. February 14, 2018 in a still image from video. (Photo: WSVN.com via Reuters)

<p>A student shows a law enforcement officer a photo or video from his phone, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018, in Parkland, Fla. A shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School sent students rushing into the streets as SWAT team members swarmed in and locked down the building. Police were warning that the shooter was still at large even as ambulances converged on the scene and emergency workers appeared to be treating those possibly wounded. (Photo: Wilfredo Lee/AP) </p>
Multiple fatalities from shooting at Florida high school

A student shows a law enforcement officer a photo or video from his phone, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018, in Parkland, Fla. A shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School sent students rushing into the streets as SWAT team members swarmed in and locked down the building. Police were warning that the shooter was still at large even as ambulances converged on the scene and emergency workers appeared to be treating those possibly wounded. (Photo: Wilfredo Lee/AP)

<p>Screengrab of the scene of a shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo: LocalABC10) </p>
Multiple fatalities from shooting at Florida high school

Screengrab of the scene of a shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo: LocalABC10)

<p>Anxious family members wait for news of students as two people embrace, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018, in Parkland, Fla. A shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School sent students rushing into the streets as SWAT team members swarmed in and locked down the building. (Photo: Wilfredo Lee/AP) </p>
Multiple fatalities from shooting at Florida high school

Anxious family members wait for news of students as two people embrace, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018, in Parkland, Fla. A shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School sent students rushing into the streets as SWAT team members swarmed in and locked down the building. (Photo: Wilfredo Lee/AP)

<p>Nikolas Cruz appears in a police booking photo after being charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder following a Parkland school shooting, at Broward County Jail in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Feb. 15, 2018. (Photo: Broward County Sheriff/Handout via Reuters) </p>
Multiple fatalities from shooting at Florida high school

Nikolas Cruz appears in a police booking photo after being charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder following a Parkland school shooting, at Broward County Jail in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Feb. 15, 2018. (Photo: Broward County Sheriff/Handout via Reuters)

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