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Nation Grieves as Death Toll from Florida High School Shooting Rises to 17

  • Veronica Neffinger

    Veronica Neffinger wrote her first poem at age seven and went on to study English in college, focusing on 18th century literature. When she is not listening to baseball games, enjoying the…

  • Updated Feb 15, 2018

The death toll from the shooting at a Florida high school Wednesday afternoon (Feb. 14) has risen to 17 people. Another 15 people are being treated for injuries at a local hospital, according to

As previously reported, the shooting occurred around 2:40 p.m. yesterday afternoon, just as school at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was letting out for the day. reports that the suspect, Nikolas Cruz, 19, is currently in custody at the Broward County jail where he was questioned extensively by police. Cruz is a former student at the school. Law enforcement officials are working on determining a motive for the massacre.

One student at the school, Noah Parness, 17, recalled what happened yesterday:

"Everyone was kind of just standing there calm, and then we saw a bunch of teachers running down the stairway, and then everybody shifted and broke into a sprint," Parness said. "I hopped a fence."

Another student shared the horror of being caught in the violence:

"The police came through the hallway to get us and in the hallway, I saw a big pile of blood, like, kind of smeared as if they were dragged away, and I saw two girls probably dead in the hallway," she said. "And then, coming down the stairs, there was some more blood and outside the building there was another guy – I think it was a teacher – who was, [I’m] pretty sure was dead."

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel stated, "It's catastrophic. There really are no words.”

President Trump will address the nation this morning about the shooting. He has said that “our nation grieves” for this horrific tragedy.

If you are feeling overwhelmed or maybe even jaded by so much pain and evil and tragedy, perhaps reading this Prayer of Lament in Response to the South Florida Shooting will provide a better perspective and comfort as you are reminded that God hears our sorrows and is grieving with us.


Photo:  Kristi Gilroy hugs a young woman at a police check point near the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where 17 people yesterday were killed by a gunman on February 15, 2018 in Parkland, Florida. Police arrested the suspect after a short manhunt, and have identified him as 19-year-old former student Nikolas Cruz.

Photo courtesy: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Publication date: February 15, 2018