At a Thursday press conference, the Broward County School Superintendent called for gun control measures in the wake of Wednesday’s mass shooting at a Florida high school that killed 17.
“Now is the time for this country to have a real conversation about sensible gun control in this country,” Robert W. Runcie said following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, a Fort Lauderdale suburb.
Runcie said lawmakers need to take action, and that all the students he had spoken to want proactive gun legislation. “I hope we can get it done in my generation but if we don’t, they will.”
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He asked that the nation “keep our babies, our families, and our entire community in your prayers as we go through this healing process.” He also praised the heroism of two school staffers who “gave their lives and prevented it from being a worse tragedy.” One was a coach, and the other was a campus supervisor.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott also spoke at the press conference, saying he wants to “to make sure this never happens again.”
Scott said it’s time “to have a real conversation about how do we make sure parents who know their children are safe, and that individuals with mental illness don’t touch guns. We need to have a real conversation so we have public safety in this state.”
The suspect in the shooting has been identified as Nikolas Cruz, 19, a former student of the school who got expelled for disciplinary reasons. He has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said 12 people were killed within the school building, two people were killed just outside the building, one person was killed on a nearby street corner and two people died in the hospital.
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Runcie said the shooter arrived at the school by Uber, “around the time of dismissal,” and entered the building. Soon after, the suspect pulled the fire alarm, and as students exited their classrooms, he started firing, Runcie said.
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Describing the suspect, Runcie said, “This was a former student at Stoneman Douglas; because of issues that arose here he was transferred to another school in the county. It is a student that we have been providing support for and recognized there were challenges there.”
He added, “We need a community wide approach to helping out students with challenges.”
The suspect has not yet entered a plea and is due to make a court appearance Thursday.
A GoFundMe page has been created to provide donations to provide relief and financial support to the shooting victims’ families.