Officer Describes Moment He Captured Alleged Florida School Shooter
"He looked like your typical high school student," the policeman said
The Florida policeman who tracked down the suspected mass shooter at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland recounted the harrowing moments leading up to the suspect’s arrest.
Officer Michael Leonard of the Coconut Creek police told reporters Thursday afternoon his department was responding to the shooting Wednesday afternoon.
The radio traffic provided a description of the suspect, including what the shooter was wearing.
Leonard also knew that the alleged shooter, Nikolas Cruz, was on the loose and started cruising through the residential neighborhoods surrounding the large school facility.
“I came across him by myself,” Leonard began. “As I continued down this one roadway, I discovered an individual walking on the sidewalk who was wearing the clothing” dispatchers said the shooter was wearing.
Leonard continued: “He looked like your typical high school student, and for a moment, I thought, ‘Is this the person I need to stop?'”
That is when his years of training took over. Leonard stopped his patrol car, hopped out, and, with his gun drawn, approached the alleged shooter.
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“He complied with my demands and he was taken into custody without any issues,” Leonard said.
The Valentine’s Day school shooting left 17 dead.
The massacre now stands as one of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in modern U.S. history.
At least 15 people were wounded when the gunman opened fire on students as they exited their classrooms following a fire alarm he had triggered.
The suspect is a former student of the school who got expelled for disciplinary reasons. He has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.
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The suspect was arraigned Thursday. He did not speak during his appearance in court and is being held without bond, and has not entered a plea.
Officials said Thursday additional charges are likely for the gunman, who is on suicide watch.
Information on his lawyer wasn’t immediately available.