Stoneman Douglas High School shooting

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Stoneman Douglas High School shooting
Part of school shootings in the United States
MarjoryStonemanDouglasHS 22Jun2008 (cropped).jpg
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2008
Parkland is located in Florida
Parkland (Florida)
Parkland is located in the US
Parkland (the US)
LocationMarjory Stoneman Douglas High School
5901 Pine Island Road
Parkland, Florida, U.S.
Coordinates26°18′19″N 80°16′06″W / 26.3053°N 80.2683°W / 26.3053; -80.2683 (Shooting)Coordinates: 26°18′19″N 80°16′06″W / 26.3053°N 80.2683°W / 26.3053; -80.2683 (Shooting) (shooting)
26°17′23″N 80°17′14″W / 26.2897°N 80.2871°W / 26.2897; -80.2871 (Arrest) (arrest)[note 1]
DateFebruary 14, 2018
2:21 – 2:27 p.m. (EST, UTC−5)
Attack type
School shooting, mass shooting
WeaponsAR-15 style semi-automatic rifle (Smith & Wesson M&P15 Sport 2)
Non-fatal injuries
PerpetratorNikolas Cruz
Charges17 counts of capital murder
17 counts of attempted first-degree murder

On February 14, 2018, a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing seventeen students and staff members and injuring seventeen others.[2][3][4] Witnesses identified nineteen-year-old former student Nikolas Cruz as the assailant, and he was arrested in Coral Springs by the Broward County Sheriff's Office shortly after he escaped the scene; Cruz had purchased food at Walmart and McDonald's restaurants after leaving the scene of the shooting.[5] Cruz confessed to being the perpetrator,[6] and he was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder. Police and prosecutors have not yet offered a motive and are investigating "a pattern of disciplinary issues and unnerving behavior".[7]

It is the deadliest shooting at a high school in United States history, surpassing the Columbine High School massacre which took place on April 20, 1999. The shooting was the deadliest mass shooting of 2018 and came at a period of heightened public support for gun control following the attacks in Las Vegas, Nevada and Sutherland Springs, Texas respectively in October and November 2017.

The sheriff's office received a number of tips in 2016 and 2017 about Cruz's threats to carry out a school shooting. The FBI learned that a YouTube user with the username "nikolas cruz" posted a message in September 2017 about becoming a school shooter, but the agency could not identify the user. In January 2018, someone contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) tip line with a direct complaint that Cruz had made a death threat, but the complaint was not forwarded to the local FBI office.

Following the massacre, public anger and frustration towards the inaction of the Republican-dominated legislature on the wider issue of mass shootings and gun violence led to the founding of Never Again MSD, an organization formed by survivors and students of the shooting to demand legislative action on gun violence. On March 9, Governor Rick Scott signed a bill that raised the minimum age for buying rifles in Florida from 18 to 21. The legislation also established waiting periods and background checks for gun buyers. The law also allowed for the arming of teachers who were properly trained and the hiring of school police. So-called "bump stocks" would now be banned and some potentially violent or mentally unstable persons would be prohibited from possessing guns.[8][9] The National Rifle Association (NRA) immediately filed a lawsuit that challenged the federal constitutionality of the age requirement clause.[10]


A BCSO deputy outside during the shooting

The shooting took place during the afternoon of February 14, 2018, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, an affluent suburb about 30 miles (48 km) northwest of Fort Lauderdale.[11][12] The shooter, former student Nikolas Cruz, was dropped off at the school by an Uber driver[13] at 2:19 p.m.,[6] shortly before dismissal time.[14] Carrying a duffel bag and a backpack,[15] he was spotted and recognized by a staff member who radioed a colleague that he was walking "purposefully" toward Building 12, according to a police report.[16][17] The first staff member claimed his training called for only reporting threats; his colleague hid in a closet.[18][19]

Cruz entered Building 12,[note 2] a three-story structure containing 30 classrooms typically occupied by about 900 students and 30 teachers.[20] Armed with an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle[note 3] and multiple magazines,[23] he activated a fire alarm and began firing indiscriminately at students and teachers.[21][24][25] The fire alarm caused confusion because there had been a fire drill earlier in the day.[26]

Cruz during his arrest

At about 2:21 p.m. the same staff member heard gunfire and activated a code red lockdown.[16][27] An armed school resource officer of the Broward County Sheriff's Office was on campus when the shooting broke out and took a position between Building 12 and the adjacent Building 7.[28]

The shooting lasted six minutes,[29] after which Cruz dropped his rifle on the 3rd floor of the building and left the scene by blending in with fleeing students. He walked to a mall where he purchased a soda. He then walked to a fast-food and lingered before leaving on foot at 3:01 p.m.[6] At about 3:40 p.m., he was stopped by police in the Wyndham Lakes neighborhood of Coral Springs, 2 miles (3.2 km) from the school, and arrested without incident.[30][28][1][31] He was taken to a hospital emergency room with "labored breathing".[note 4] After 40 minutes, he was released back into police custody and booked into the Broward County Jail.[6][32]

School surveillance camera video revealed Cruz as the perpetrator,[33][34] and he was also recognized by eyewitnesses.[16] While SWAT paramedics were inside the building, additional paramedics from the local Fire-Rescue department repeatedly requested to enter the building. These requests were denied by the Broward Sheriff's Office, even after the suspect was arrested.[35][36][37]


Banner created by an Independent Baptist church to offer support for the survivors. Such banners offering love and support were requested by school officials[38] and were hung all over the campus.

Seventeen people were killed and seventeen people were wounded but survived their gunshot wounds.[4][39][40][41][42][43] Three remained in critical condition the day after the shooting[44] and one remained by the second day.[45]

Twelve victims died inside the building, three died just outside the building on school premises, and two died in the hospital.

The fourteen students and three staff members killed were:[46]

  • Alyssa Alhadeff, age 14
  • Scott Beigel, 35
  • Martin Duque, 14
  • Nicholas Dworet, 17
  • Aaron Feis, 37
  • Jaime Guttenberg, 14
  • Chris Hixon, 49
  • Luke Hoyer, 15
  • Cara Loughran, 14
  • Gina Montalto, 14
  • Joaquin Oliver, 17
  • Alaina Petty, 14
  • Meadow Pollack, 18
  • Helena Ramsay, 17
  • Alex Schachter, 14
  • Carmen Schentrup, 16
  • Peter Wang, 15

Geography teacher Scott Beigel was killed after he unlocked a classroom for students to enter and hide from the gunman.[47][48] Aaron Feis, an assistant football coach and security guard, was killed as he shielded two students.[49] Chris Hixon, the school's athletic director, was killed as he ran toward the sound of the gunfire and tried to help fleeing students.[50]

Student Peter Wang was last seen in his Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) uniform, holding doors open so others could get out more quickly; Wang was unable to flee with the students when Cruz appeared and fatally shot him. Commentators commended his actions and described him as a hero. A White House petition was circulated, calling for him to be buried with full military honors.[51][52] At their respective funerals, Wang, Alaina Petty, and Martin Duque were all posthumously honored by the U.S. Army with the ROTC Medal for Heroism, and Wang was buried in his JROTC Blues uniform. On February 20, he was given a rare posthumous admission to the United States Military Academy.[53]

Sheriff Israel visits victim Anthony Borges[54]

Victim Alyssa Alhadeff was the captain of a local soccer team in Parkland. On March 7, 2018—nearly three weeks after the shooting— she was honored by the United States women's national soccer team prior to a game in Orlando. Her teammates and family were invited to the game and presented with official jerseys that featured Alhadeff's name.[55]

Meadow Pollack was a senior who was shot four times during the shooting. As Cruz shot into other classrooms, she crawled to a classroom door but was unable to get inside. Cara Loughran was alongside Pollack, and Pollack covered Loughran in an attempt to shield her from the bullets. Cruz returned to the classroom and located Pollack and Loughran. He discharged his weapon five more times, killing Pollack and Loughran.[56]

The last victim to remain hospitalized, 15-year-old Anthony Borges, from Venezuela, was released on April 4. Dubbed "the real Iron Man", Borges was shot five times after he used his body to barricade the door of a classroom where twenty students were inside.[57][58] Upon his release, Borges issued a statement that criticized the actions of Broward Sheriff's deputies, Sheriff Scott Israel and School Superintendent Robert Runcie. His family has filed notice of its intent to sue the school district for personal injury to cover costs related to his recovery.[59][60][61]


Broward County Sheriff's Office mugshot of Cruz

Nikolas Jacob Cruz (born September 24, 1998 in Margate, Florida)[62][63][64] was adopted at birth by Lynda and Roger Cruz.[65] Roger died at age 67 in 2004.[66] Lynda died at age 68 in November 2017, three months before the shooting.[67] He had been living with relatives and friends since her death.[68] At the time of the shooting, he was enrolled in a GED program and employed at a local dollar store.[69][70]

Cruz was a member of the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) and had received multiple awards "including academic achievement for maintaining an A grade in JROTC and Bs in other subjects", according to CNN.[71] He was also a member of his school's varsity air rifle team.[71][72]

Cruz had behavioral issues[63] since middle school, but a Washington Post writer said he was "entrenched in the process for getting students help rather than referring them to law enforcement"[73] and he was transferred between schools six times in three years to deal with these problems. In 2014, he was transferred to a school for children with emotional or learning disabilities. There were reports that he made threats against other students.[74] He returned to Stoneman Douglas High School two years later, only to be expelled from the school in 2017 for disciplinary reasons.[63] An email from the school administration had circulated among teachers, warning that he had made threats against other students. This led the school to ban him from wearing a backpack on campus.[64][75][76]

Psychiatrists recommended an involuntary admission of Cruz to a residential treatment facility starting in 2013.[77] The Florida Department of Children and Families investigated him in September 2016 for Snapchat posts in which he cut both his arms and said he planned to buy a gun. At this time, a school resource officer suggested[78] to have him undergo an involuntary psychiatric examination under the provisions of the Baker Act. Two guidance counselors agreed, but a mental institution did not.[79] State investigators reported he had depression, autism, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In their assessment, they concluded he "was at low risk of harming himself or others".[80] He had previously received mental health treatment, but had not received treatment in the year leading up to the shooting.[71]

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel described Cruz's online profiles and accounts as "very, very disturbing".[71] They contained pictures and posts of him with a variety of weapons, including long knives, a shotgun, a pistol, and a BB gun. Police said that he held "extremist" views; social media accounts that were thought to be linked to him contained anti-black and anti-Muslim slurs.[71] YouTube comments linked to him include "I wanna die Fighting[sic] killing shit ton[sic] of people", threats against police officers and Antifa, and intent to mimic the University of Texas tower shooting.[71][81][82] In February 2017, he legally purchased an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle from a Coral Springs gun store. As in most states, in Florida, persons 18 or older can buy rifles from federally licensed dealers. Cruz passed a background check. A year later, he used this weapon to commit the mass shooting at his former school.[83][21]

Items recovered by police at the scene included gun magazines with swastikas carved in them. One student reported that Cruz had drawn a swastika and the words "I hate niggers" on his backpack.[84] CNN reported that Cruz was in a private Instagram group chat where he expressed racist, homophobic, antisemitic, and anti-immigrant (xenophobic) views. He said he wanted to kill gay people and Mexicans, and talked about keeping black people in chains. He said he hated black people "simply because they were black," and Jewish people because he believed "they wanted to destroy the world". He also referred to white women who engaged in interracial relationships as traitors.[85]

A former classmate said Cruz had anger management issues and often joked about guns and gun violence, which included threats of shooting up establishments.[11] The brother of a 2016 graduate described him as "super stressed out all the time and talked about guns a lot and tried to hide his face". A student who was enrolled at the school at the time of the shooting said, "I think everyone had in their minds if anybody was going to do it, it was going to be him".[86] A classmate who was assigned to work with him in sophomore year said, "He told me how he got kicked out of two private schools. He was held back twice. He had aspirations to join the military. He enjoyed hunting."[71] A student's mother said that he also bragged about killing animals. A neighbor said his mother would call the police over to the house to try to talk some sense into him.[87]

Warnings to law enforcement[edit]

Sheriff Scott Israel said that his office received 23 calls about Cruz during the previous decade, but this figure is in dispute. CNN used a public records request to obtain a sheriff's office log, which showed that from 2008 to 2017, at least 45 calls were made in reference to Cruz, his brother, or the family home.[88][89] The calls included an anonymous tip on February 5, 2016, that Cruz had threatened to shoot up the school, and a tip on November 30, 2017, that he might be a "school shooter in the making" and that he collected knives and guns. On September 23, 2016, a peer counselor notified the school resource officer of his suicide attempt and intent to buy a gun; the school indicated it would do a "threat assessment".[90][91][92]

In September 2016, three people—a sheriff's deputy who worked as a resource officer at Stoneman Douglas, and two of the school's counselors—stated that Cruz should be committed for mental evaluation.[93][94]

On September 24, 2017, a person with the username "nikolas cruz" posted a comment to a YouTube video which read, "Im[sic] going to be a professional school shooter". The person who uploaded the video to YouTube reported the comment to the FBI. According to agent Robert Lasky, the agency conducted database reviews but was unable to track down the individual who made the threatening comment.[95][96]

On January 5, 2018, the FBI's Public Access Line received a tip from a person who was close to Cruz, more than a month before the shooting occurred. On February 16, two days after the shooting, the agency released a statement that detailed this information. According to the statement, "The caller provided information about Cruz's gun ownership, desire to kill people, erratic behavior, and disturbing social media posts, as well as the potential of him conducting a school shooting." After conducting an investigation, the FBI said the tip line did not follow protocol when the information was not forwarded to the Miami Field Office, where investigative steps would have been taken.[97][98] The FBI opened a probe into the tip line's operations.[99]

The lack of response by Israel and other members of the Broward Country sheriff's department to the numerous red flags and warnings about Cruz has been the subject of much scrutiny.[100] In the days following the shooting, calls for Israel's resignation intensified as more information that alluded to the department's inaction was revealed.[101] Since the shooting, Israel has declined to resign and refused to take responsibility for his role in failing to stop Cruz before the mass shooting took place.[102] In an interview with CNN, Israel described his leadership at the department as "amazing", a claim that was widely mocked and criticized.[103][104][105][106]

Seeking help[edit]

According to a new report released and reviewed by The New York Times and The Daily Beast, a year before the shooting, Cruz sought help from education specialists and it was determined that he might be able to be transferred out of Stoneman Douglas to another facility, Cross Creek.[107][108][109]

At first, Cruz stayed at Stoneman Douglas, but as his grades started to decline, he requested to be transferred to Cross Creek, but this request was never followed up by school officials.[110][111]

Legal proceedings[edit]

Cruz's initial arraignment (3:02)

At his initial arraignment the day after the shootings, Cruz was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder and held without bond.[112][113] If convicted of first degree murder, he faces either the death penalty or life without parole.[114] According to an affidavit by the sheriff's office, Cruz confessed to the shooting. He also told officers that he brought additional loaded magazines hidden in a backpack.[6][115]

The chief public defender said it is not yet known if Cruz's court-appointed attorneys will seek an insanity defense.[116]

Cruz was placed on suicide watch in an isolation cell (solitary confinement) after the arraignment.[117]

Lead defense counsel Gordon Weekes asked Judge Elizabeth Scherer to recuse herself, claiming that her previous comments and rulings showed favoritism toward the prosecution, which would prevent Cruz from receiving a fair trial. She disagreed and declined the request on February 26.[118]

On March 7, a grand jury indicted Cruz on 34 charges: 17 counts of first-degree murder and 17 counts of attempted first-degree murder.[119] He was arraigned on March 13, and the prosecution filed notice of their intent to seek the death penalty.[120] They said they can prove five of the aggravating factors that qualify a murder for the death penalty in Florida. Cruz declined to enter a plea, so Judge Scherer entered "not guilty" on his behalf. The defense had earlier offered a guilty plea if the death penalty was taken off the table, and reiterated it immediately before it was refused.[121]

During the week of April 8–12, 2018, Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer included a three-page letter from a Minnesotan into the court record of the case. The letter was addressed to the judge and claimed that research into Cruz's past led the writer to believe that Cruz suffered from a developmental disability and that he was "...fearful of other people and was threatened by bullies." The letter ended by claiming that Cruz appeared to be consumed by sadness and depression.[122] This is part of a string of letters that have been sent to the judge, asking for her to show mercy or for God to forgive his actions against his victims.[citation needed]

The same week, a hearing was held to determine if taxpayers will pay for Cruz's defense. Information[clarification needed] was revealed that Cruz's inheritance from his late mother's estate could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. His attorney, court-appointed public defender Howard Finkelstein, pleaded with the court to wait until the probate case involving Cruz's late mother's estate was concluded and his net worth could be determined.[123] There are also lawsuits and claims against his mother's estate. These liens can complicate the proceedings, although Cruz has reportedly stated he wants the leftover money from his defense to be donated to a cause that promotes healing and education in the community.[123]

On July 26, Judge Scherer ruled that Cruz's confession, with certain details redacted, would be released to the public.[124] The confession was released on August 6.[125]

On August 3, Judge Scherer ruled that the Broward school district's report on Cruz would be released to the public. Some portions of the report were redacted to protect Cruz's privacy rights.[126]

On August 8, a video of Cruz's confession filmed by the Broward County Sheriff's Office was released by TMZ. Cruz can be heard crying near the end of the video, and saying "kill me" to the camera.[127]


President Trump and his wife Melania visit a victim at Broward Health North Medical Center, two days after the shooting

The school district provided grief counseling to students and their families. Attorney General Pam Bondi said that the fees of funerals and counseling would be paid for by the state.[128]

On February 15, police presence was increased at schools in at least two counties in Florida in response to the shooting.[129][130] The building where the shooting took place will be demolished.[131]

On February 28, two weeks after the shooting, Stoneman Douglas reopened to students amid a heavy police presence.[132] School principal Ty Thompson emphasized that the first week back would be focused on healing, with classes ending at 11:40 a.m. through March 2. He tweeted "... Remember our focus is on emotional readiness and comfort not curriculum: so there is no need for backpacks. Come ready to start the healing process and #RECLAIMTHENEST".[132][133] Extra counseling and emotional support dogs were provided to students upon return.[132]

In early April, the school implemented several new safety rules and regulations. The changes included fewer entrances, law enforcement officers at each entrance, identification badges for students and staff, and the requirement that all book bags must be clear plastic. The use of metal detectors is under consideration. Several students criticized the new safety measures as ineffective and intrusive.[134]

On May 30, 2018, prosecutors released three videos from Cruz's cellphone that were made before the shooting. Cruz describes his personal feelings, his enthusiasm and plan for the shooting, and how it will make him notorious.[135]

On November 30, 2018, the Sun-Sentinel reported Broward County Public Schools, which runs Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School, had spent about $185,000 attempting to obscure its role in not preventing the massacre. The district also spent an undisclosed sum on legal opposition to the records related to the school's treatment of Nikolas Cruz while he was a student, and the school security procedures. A company named CEN received a $60,000 payment to review Cruz's school records and to investigate if the Broward County Public Schools followed the law in its handling of Cruz as a troubled student. The final report omitted various details about the instability of Cruz.[136]

Officer response[edit]

A school resource officer (SRO)—a sheriff's deputy—remained outside Building 12 during the shooting; he was suspended without pay the following day but he immediately retired. Sheriff Israel said "[the deputy] was absolutely on campus for this entire event" and that he should have "[gone] in, addressed the killer, [and] killed the killer".[89][137][138] A statement released by the officer's lawyer said he believed the shooting was happening outside the building, which he said he told the first Coral Springs police officer who arrived on scene. It also pointed to radio transmissions that indicated a gunshot victim near the football field.[139] However, the Miami Herald transcribed radio dispatches that the SRO at 2:23 said, "possible shots fired — 1200 building". At 2:25, he radioed that "We also heard it's by, inside the 1200". At 2:27, at Building 12, he radioed, "Stay at least 500 feet away at this point."[140] On March 15 in compliance with a court order, the sheriff's office released video footage, captured by school surveillance cameras, showing some of the SRO's movements during the shooting.[141]

Unnamed sources told CNN that Coral Springs police arrived at the scene and saw three Broward deputies behind their vehicles with pistols drawn.[138] The commanding sheriff's office captain ordered deputies to form a perimeter instead of immediately confronting the shooter; this tactic was contrary to BSO training regarding active shooters. Based on timestamps of the police logs, the order was given some time after the shooting had stopped.[142] The BSO captain was widely criticized for her actions and, nine months after the shooting, resigned for "personal reasons".[143]

Sheriff Israel said that Coral Springs officers were the first to enter the building, about four minutes after Cruz had left the school.[142] Due to a tape delay in viewing surveillance footage, officers believed that Cruz was still in the building.[144] As of early March, there were three investigations into the timeline of police response.[145][138]

President Donald Trump criticized the officers who failed to enter the building during the shooting. On February 26, he said that he believed he would have entered "even if I didn't have a weapon, and I think most of the people in this room would have done that, too",[146] a claim and reaction that was mocked by the media, and considered shameful by survivors. David Hogg criticized the claim as Trump bragging and talking about himself amid tragedy that did not concern him.[147][148][149][150]

Political reaction[edit]

President Trump offered his prayers and condolences to the victims' families, writing, "no child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school".[151][152] In a televised address, he mentioned school safety and mental health issues.[153] Florida Governor Rick Scott ordered that flags at state buildings be flown at half-staff,[154] and Trump later ordered flags be flown at half-staff for the entire country.[155] Two days after the shooting, Trump and his wife Melania visited Broward Health North, a hospital where eight of the shooting victims were admitted. They met with two victims and Trump praised doctors and law enforcement officials for their responses to the attack.[156]

On February 22 at the White House, Trump met with students and others for a "listening session". He suggested arming up to 20% of the teachers to stop "maniacs" from attacking students. The following day, he called a "gun free" school a "magnet" for criminals and tweeted, "Highly trained, gun adept, teachers/coaches would solve the problem instantly, before police arrive."[157][158]

BBC News characterized Republican politicians' reactions as focusing on mental health issues while dodging debate on gun control, with the reasoning that it was either "too political or too soon".[159] Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan said that this was the time to "step back and count our blessings" instead of "taking sides and fighting each other politically".[160] Republican Florida Senator Marco Rubio said that "most" proposals on stricter gun laws "would not have prevented" this shooting nor "any of those in recent history" and that lawmakers should take action with "focus on the violence part" alongside guns.[161] Republican Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin declared that the country should re-evaluate "the things being put in the hands of our young people",[162] specifically "quote-unquote video games" that "have desensitized people to the value of human life".[163] Republican Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas said he supported age restrictions on the ownership of AR-15 style rifles, saying "Certainly nobody under 21 should have an AR-15."[164][165][166][167] Republican Senator from Oklahoma James Lankford said on NBC News' Meet the Press he was open to requiring more comprehensive background checks for firearm purchases, saying "The problem is not owning an AR-15, it’s the person who owns it.”[168][169][170] Republican governor of Ohio John Kasich called for restrictions on the sales of AR-15 style rifles, saying on CNN "if all of a sudden, you couldn't buy an AR-15, what would you lose? Would you feel as though your Second Amendment rights would be eroded because you couldn't buy a God-darn AR-15?"[168][171][172] Republican Representative Brian Mast from Florida, a former resident of Parkland and an Army veteran, wrote in an op ed in The New York Times that he supported a ban on the sale of civilian versions of military rifles, writing:

Most nights in Afghanistan, I wielded an M4 carbine...My rifle was very similar to the AR-15-style semiautomatic weapon used to kill students, teachers and a coach I knew at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., where I once lived...I cannot support the primary weapon I used to defend our people being used to kill children I swore to defend...The AR-15 is an excellent platform for recreational shooters to learn to be outstanding marksmen. Unfortunately, it is also an excellent platform for those who wish to kill the innocent.[173][174][175][165]

Democratic Senator from Florida Bill Nelson said "I have hunted all my life...but an AR-15 is not for hunting. It’s for killing.”[176][177][178][179][180][181][182]

Al Hoffman Jr., a Republican donor in Florida, pledged that he would no longer fund legislative groups or candidates who were not actively working to ban sales of military-style assault weapons to civilians. He said, "For how many years now have we been doing this – having these experiences of terrorism, mass killings – and how many years has it been that nothing's been done?"[183]

Sheriff Israel called on lawmakers to amend the Baker Act to allow police to detain and hospitalize people who make disturbing posts—not just clear threats—on social media. "I'm talking about being around bombs, possibly talking about 'I want to be a serial killer', talking about taking people's lives", he said. "Just taking a picture with a gun or a knife or a weapon – that in and of itself is clearly not even remotely something that we're concerned about."[184]

Gun control debate[edit]

Students protest gun violence outside the White House in Washington, D.C., February 18

Many student survivors criticized the response from politicians and asked them not to offer condolences but to take action to prevent more students from being killed in school shootings. These students have demanded stricter gun control measures.[185][186] Survivor Emma González was noted for her speech that rebuked thoughts and prayers from politicians.[187][188] She later helped lead a protest movement against gun violence in the United States.[189] Broward County Schools Superintendent Rob Runcie said, "now is the time to have a real conversation about gun control legislation".[115][190] Lori Alhadeff, whose daughter was killed in the shooting, implored President Trump to do something to improve school safety.[191]

In the aftermath of the shooting, some of the student survivors organized a group called Never Again MSD. The group was created on social media with the hashtag #NeverAgain,[192][193] activism inspired in part by the ground broken by the #MeToo movement and the 2018 Women's March.[194] The group demanded legislative action to prevent similar shootings, and has condemned lawmakers who received political contributions from the National Rifle Association.[195][196] The group held a rally on February 17 in Fort Lauderdale that was attended by hundreds of supporters.[197][198]

Since the shooting, several more rallies have been planned to take place with the focus on legislative action. The Women's March Network organized a 17-minute school walkout that took place on March 14.[199][200] A series of demonstrations called "March for Our Lives" on March 24 included a march in Washington, D.C.[201][202][203] On April 20, the anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre, all-day walkouts were planned for teacher groups by educators Diane Ravitch and David Berliner,[204] as well as student groups.[205][206]

On February 20, dozens of Stoneman Douglas High School students went to the state Capitol in Tallahassee and watched as the Florida House of Representatives rejected a bill that would have banned assault weapons. Students strongly criticized the vote. The bill's sponsor, Carlos Guillermo Smith, noted the peculiarity of the timing of the rejection both because of the tragedy at Stoneman Douglas High School and because the Florida House of Representatives had just recently passed a bill declaring that pornography is a public health risk.[207]

In mid-March, Lori Alhadeff announced her own nonprofit organization Make Schools Safe, which will be mostly focusing on school campus security.[208][209]

In May 2018, Cameron Kasky's father registered a super PAC, Families vs Assault Rifles PAC (FAMSVARPAC), with intentions of going "up against NRA candidates in every meaningful race in the country".[210][211][212]

Florida law[edit]

In March, the Florida Legislature passed a bill titled the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act. It raised the minimum age for buying rifles to 21, established waiting periods and background checks, provided a program for the arming of some school employees and hiring of school police, banned bump stocks, and barred some potentially violent or mentally unhealthy people arrested under certain laws from possessing guns. In all, it allocated around $400 million.[8] Rick Scott signed the bill into law on March 9.[9] That same day, the NRA challenged the law by filing a lawsuit alleging that the ban on gun sales to people under 21 is unconstitutional because it violates the rights that the Second and Fourteenth Amendments confer to 18- to 21-year-olds, who are classified as adults.[10]

Federal law[edit]

On February 20, 2018, Trump directed the Department of Justice to issue regulations to ban bump stocks.[213][214]

On March 23, the STOP School Violence Act was signed into law as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018, which increases funding for metal detectors, security training, and similar safety measures.[215] Lawmakers made it clear it was in response to the shooting and the public outcry.[216] However students from the Stoneman Douglas High School who were active in calling for stricter gun control (not just safety measures) felt this was passed because lawmakers "pass something very easy and simple that everyone can get behind. But that's because it doesn't do anything."[217][non-primary source needed][who?]

Boycott of NRA[edit]

Following the shooting, a boycott emerged against the U.S. gun rights advocacy group National Rifle Association (NRA) and its business affiliates. Calls for companies to sever their ties to the NRA were heeded when several companies terminated their business relationships with the NRA.[218][219][220][221] Public pressure resulted in major gun sellers like Dick's, Walmart, and Fred Meyer to voluntarily bump the age requirement on gun purchases from 18 to 21.

Victims' funds[edit]

In the aftermath of the shooting, over $7.5 million was raised for the victims as of April 2018. Two other funds, Florida's Crime Victims Compensation Fund, which pays for medical and funeral expenses, and the National Compassion Fund which pays for pain and suffering, are also available to help the victims of the Parkland shooting.[222]

Conspiracy theories, disinformation, and harassment[edit]

Student David Hogg was subjected to widespread false allegations of being a crisis actor.

Right-wing conspiracy theories circulated in the wake of the shooting. The speculation included false claims that the shooting did not happen or was staged by "crisis actors".[223][224][225] In one of the claims, Benjamin A. Kelly, a district secretary for Republican State Representative Shawn Harrison, sent an email to the Tampa Bay Times stating that the children in the picture were not students at the school.[223] The children who were interviewed by CNN were actually students at Stoneman Douglas High School. As a result of the backlash, Kelly was fired hours later.[223] Former Republican congressman and CNN contributor Jack Kingston suggested student demonstrators were paid by billionaire George Soros or were supported by members of Antifa.[223] A video with a description espousing a conspiracy theory that student David Hogg was a "crisis actor" reached the top of YouTube's trending page before it was removed by the company.[226]

The Alliance for Securing Democracy showed that Russia-linked accounts on Twitter and other platforms used the shooting's aftermath to inflame tensions and divide Americans by posting loaded comments that oppose gun control.[227][228] Other Russia-linked accounts labeled the shooting a false flag operation that the U.S. government would exploit to seize guns from citizens.[229] Hundreds of Russian bots are also suspected of coming to the defense of Laura Ingraham on Twitter following the boycott of her show, The Ingraham Angle that resulted from her public ridicule of Hogg.[230][231] The conspiracy theories about survivors like Hogg and González were named PolitiFact's 2018 Lie of the Year. [232]

Some of the survivors of the massacre and their relatives were targeted by online harassment that included death threats.[233][234] Cameron Kasky wrote on Twitter that he was quitting Facebook for the time being, because the death threats from "NRA cultists" were slightly more graphic on a service without a character limit.[235]


On May 23, 2018, the parents of victims Jaime Guttenberg and Alex Schachter sued firearm manufacturer American Outdoor Brands Corporation, formerly known as Smith & Wesson, the manufacturer of the rifle used by Cruz, and distributor Sunrise Tactical Supply, the retailer who sold Cruz the rifle, claiming damages due to the defendents' "complicity in the entirely foreseeable, deadly use of the assault-style weapons that they place on the market."[236]

Graduation ceremony[edit]

On June 3, 2018, the school held its graduation ceremony with diploma presentations to the families of Nicholas Dworet, Joaquin Oliver, Meadow Pollack, and Carmen Schentrup.[237] The school's principal Ty Thompson began by dedicating the ceremony to "those not with us".[238] Many graduates wore sashes that were emblazoned with #MSDStrong, or decorated their caps with references to the Never Again movement, while some dedicated their caps to their classmates. Families of the victims also made statements, with the mother of Joaquin Oliver accepting his diploma wearing a shirt saying "This should be my son".[239] Talk show host Jimmy Fallon made a surprise appearance and gave a commencement speech to the graduating class, thanking them for their courage and bravery.[240]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 4700 block of Wyndham Lakes Drive, Coral Springs.[1]
  2. ^ Also known as the "freshman building" because it was originally built for use only by freshmen, it later became used for other grades as well.[20]
  3. ^ Smith & Wesson M&P15.[21][22]
  4. ^ Called in as a gunshot wound, according to an emergency room doctor.[32]


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