Florida shooting: minute-by-minute account of gunman Nikolas Cruz shows he arrived at school by Uber and later visited McDonald’s after killing 17
The suspect escaped the scene by dropping his rifle and backpack and mixing in with the crowd of fleeing students
Police arrested Nikolas Cruz, 19, for Wednesday’s shooting deaths at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
He is being held without bail. An arrest affidavit said Cruz had confessed to the shootings.
Here is how the incident unfolded, according to police and court records (times are approximate):
2:19pm: Police say Cruz is dropped off at the school by an Uber driver. The school is preparing for dismissal as he arrives so the gates are unlocked to allow cars and buses to enter.
Wearing a school shirt, he carries a black duffle bag and a black backpack inside.
A school staffer recognises Cruz and warns a co-worker by radio.
2:20pm: A 15-year-old student says he encounters Cruz loading a rifle inside a second-floor bathroom. “You’d better get out of here,” Cruz tells the student.
“Things are going to start getting messy.” The student flees and alerts a staffer.
2:21pm: Police say Cruz activates a fire alarm inside the school. Students begin to evacuate. Cruz opens fire in a first-floor hallway. Hearing the shots, a staffer broadcasts a “Code Red” alert over the intercom, triggering a campus lockdown.
Students and teachers take cover in classrooms. Some students flee the school and take cover at a nearby Walmart. Cruz fires into four classrooms and goes to the second floor, continuing to shoot. More than 100 rounds are fired.
2:23pm: Police receive multiple 911 calls of shooting taking place.
2:25pm: The shooting stops. Police say Cruz discards his assault rifle and backpack in a third-floor stairwell and runs downstairs to join students fleeing the school. He goes to the Walmart, where he has a drink at a Subway outlet inside. He leaves and walks to a McDonald’s.
2:50pm: Broward County sheriff’s deputies arrive to see students leaving the building.
2:56pm: Authorities alert public of gunman at school, warn them to avoid area.
3:01pm: Cruz leaves McDonald’s.
3:10pm: FBI agents and more police arrive. Many students are still in classrooms.
3:40pm: School officials begin putting students on buses. They are taken to a nearby hotel and released to their families.
3:53pm: Police search school buildings to evacuate students.
3:40pm: A police officer finds Cruz in the 1400 block of Windham Lakes Boulevard South, Coral Springs. He is arrested without resistance.
4:27pm: Cruz is taken to Broward Health North hospital with difficulty breathing. He is treated and released back into police custody.
4:59pm: The sheriff’s office says SWAT teams continue to search the school.
6pm: Police identify Cruz as the school gunman. Wearing a hospital gown, Cruz arrives at the Broward County sheriff’s office and is taken inside.
Thursday, February 15
10:50am: Cruz is charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.
2pm: In court via a closed-circuit video link, Cruz is ordered to be held without bail.
Tribune News Service, The Guardian