Thousands attend candlelight vigil for Parkland shooting victims

PBPO News:

The Vigil

Authorities released 17 names of those who died in the shooting at Marjory stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day. Hundreds gathered at Pine Trails Park for a candlelight service.

Fred Guttenberg addressed the crowd as 17 angels stood lit up on the amphitheater’s stage. Jaime Guttenberg, his daughter, was shot and killed during the shooting.

He said, breaking down his voice, “I don’t know what to do next.” “Don’t tell my there’s gun violence. It happened in Parkland.

What do we know
Nikolas Cruz, the 19 year-old suspect in the shooting rampage at Parkland’s Parkland High School on Valentine’s Day, was legally purchased the A-15 rifle from a Broward County gun seller a year ago, according to law enforcement officials.

Scott Israel, Broward County Sheriff, said Cruz purchased the weapon from Sunrise Tactical in Coral Springs.

Israel claimed Cruz fired in five classrooms, before dropping an assault rifle on the third floor. Then, he fled the school on foot.

Cruz went on to a Subway near him, which is located inside a Walmart. He bought a drink. Israel stated that he also stopped at a McDonald’s to get a quick bite before he left on foot.

Israel claimed that law enforcement officers interviewed more than 2,000 people regarding Wednesday’s shooting.

Court records released Thursday show that Cruz was driven by an Uber driver to school.

According to the document, Cruz was charged with 17 counts premeditated killing after a witness saw him. He was wearing black pants and a burgundy shirt, as well as a black hat. He wore a black backpack and carried a duffle bag.

According to the report, gunshots were heard by the witness at the moment.

Cruz claimed that he was the gunman.

Cruz stated that he devised a plan to dispose of the AR-15 rifle as well as the extra magazines in his backpack, so he could escape with the other students.

Cruz was still in prison Thursday. Cruz was denied bail by a judge. He is now on suicide watch.

Cruz, who is thin and slim, looked down all the time he was in front of the judge.

Judge Kim Theresa Mollica said to him, “You are charged for some very serious offenses.”

Cruz’s assistant public defender Melissa McNeill stood beside him, her hand on his shoulder. She invoked Cruz’s right to remain quiet.

McNeill spoke out in an emotional news conference outside of the courtroom. He said Cruz was “deeply sad” and that his mother’s death was the breaking point.

He is a broken human being. He is a child who has been broken.”

After his mother’s death in November, Cruz lived briefly in a mobile home near Lantana. Cruz lived there together with his half-brother, and a female.

Cruz was living with a Broward County family at Pompano Beach for the past three months. A 17-year-old son of the family is a junior at high school. He was present at the scene during the shooting.

James Snead, Pompano Beach, said Cruz had been allowed to live in his home for the past few months following the death of his mother. He claimed Cruz had his own bedroom.

“The family took him into their home. Jim Lewis, representing the Broward County family, said that they knew his mother had died. They got him a job at Dollar Tree. They also helped him to continue his education. They are shocked.”

A Dollar Tree spokesperson confirmed Cruz’s employment at the Parkland location.

The company stated that it would share information with federal and state officials to aid their investigation. “Our thoughts, prayers, and condolences are with all of Parkland, particularly the families and individuals who were affected by this tragedy.”

On Thursday morning, President Donald Trump addressed the nation in a five-minute speech. He pledged to put more emphasis on mental health after the massacre at a high school.

Trump did not mention gun control, but he committed to “tackling this difficult issue” at a conference of governors later in the month.

Trump said that he plans to visit Palm Beach this Saturday, and did not specify when.

Meanwhile, Gov. Rick Scott stated that he would meet next week with state legislators to discuss the shooting.

He stated that he would concentrate on two things: keeping children safe in school and stopping people suffering from mental illness touching guns.

Scott stated, “The violence must stop.” Scott stated, “We cannot lose another child to violence in schools in this country.”

THE VICTIMS

To help shooting victims and their families, a GoFundMe account was created.

The Stoneman Douglas Fund had raised over $400,000. As of 5:05 p.m. Broward County Education Foundation created the fund, which is a non-profit group that raises money for Broward County’s public school systems.

One of the first confirmed dead was a beloved football coach who reportedly put himself between a gunman’s throat and the students he promised to protect. A 18-year old girl who had plans to attend Lynn University. Her father called her cell phone in an attempt to get her a response. A girl who loved to dance with her dog.

Scott Beigel (35-year-old geography teacher) was killed trying to lock a door between fleeing students, and the gunman.

Kelcey Friend (16 years old) was Beigel’s student and said that there were between 15 and 20 students hiding in the classroom.

“It was terrible,” Friend stated. “I saw him lying there lifeless on the ground.”

Without the Beigel, I wouldn’t have been here. Beigel stated that he would have been in a hospital or died.

She suggested that the gunman might have believed there was only one person in the classroom. It wasn’t clear how long the students had been hiding. “It felt as if an eternity,” Friend stated.

At least nine more victims were still in Broward County hospitals as of Thursday morning. Three of the victims were in critical condition.

SIGNS OF TROUBLE

The FBI was alerted in September to a disturbing comment made by Nikolas Cruz on YouTube: “I’m going be a professional school shooting instructor.”

Robert Lasky, FBI Miami’s special agent, confirmed that the FBI had investigated the “professional shooter” comment, but couldn’t find any details.

Lasky stated that no other information was contained in the comment. This would have indicated a time, place, or true identity. “The FBI did database checks and reviews but could not identify the person who made this comment.”

According to The Associated Press, Cruz was confirmed by the leader of a white-nationalist group as a member of his group.

Olivia Prochilo (junior at the high school) said Cruz was “one those kids you just want to avoid.”

She pointed to Cruz’s Instagram account, where she stated that Cruz would experience “outbreaks”.

Prochilo stated, “He was angry.” He wanted these high school students to feel the same way he felt. He did it without any justification. He should be imprisoned for his actions and never see the sun again.

Israel claimed that Cruz was present on campus at the time, but that he had never met him.

CONNECTIONS TO PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officials in Palm Beach County said that more officers will be present at schools over the coming days and weeks.

District officials reported that attendance was down, and that the police presence was higher in Palm Beach County’s southernmost school districts. District administrators called the Boca Raton Police Department and other local departments to increase security on the campuses of the region in the wake the Broward shooting.

Donald Fennoy, Chief Operating Officer of the district, stated that they also made efforts to speed up repairs and work orders related to school security. Fennoy stated Thursday that “they’re moving on it right now.” Fennoy stated that some of the work was delayed for more than a year due to tight budgets.

The voter-approved 2017 sales taxes have already begun to flow cash to the school district, which is expected to speed up the process of making campuses safer.

Students in Palm Beach County have Friday off while teachers work.

On Thursday morning, law enforcement officers continued to investigate the mobile home located west of Lantana and linked to the fatal shootings.

According to a security guard at the community, authorities said they were searching for an explosive device at the residence on Easter Cay Way, at the south end Lantana Cascade mobile home park. This is off Congress Avenue south Lantana Road.

Unidentified resident of the mobile home park said that he lived next to Cruz.

The man stated, “I was introduced (to) Nikolas once.” “You wouldn’t in a million of years imagine that this kid was going do anything.” My wife said how terrible it was when I saw the news. But the school is so far away that I couldn’t even put two and two together.”

Two Palm Beach County gun shops claimed that federal firearms agents visited their premises Thursday to inquire about Cruz. They denied having had any dealings with Cruz. A third gun shop said that they were not visited by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents.

Cruz was old enough for an assault rifle, but not a handgun.

Federal gun law bans anyone under 21 from purchasing handguns, but permits those over 18 to purchase rifles, long guns and ammunition.

Olivia Prochilo (a Stoneman Douglas junior high school student) said that she was outside Stoneman Douglas High School when the shooting began Wednesday afternoon.

She said, “We were all just playing around in the field, sitting as sitting ducks, and just messing about until we heard some talk.” “The screaming was what I heard the first time. One of my classmates got a call from someone in the closet saying, “This isn’t a fire drill.” This is a school shooting.

Prochilo stated that the assistant principal announced to ‘evacuate immediately’. Many students ran to a nearby Walmart.

Prochilo stated that my first instinct was to run to my mom and dad, and tell them I’m OK. But there were thousands of children trying to reach their moms. My calls were failing. They tried to call me, but they couldn’t. They were panicking, like “My daughter is in that school.” My sister and mom are teachers, so they were all locked down trying to reach him.

Officials claimed Cruz was hiding in the crowd, and was among the first to leave the school following the shooting. Cruz was found 2 miles from the school, near Wyndham Lakes swimming pool.