Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA: Thousands called for gun control at a rally, Saturday, in Fort Lauderdale, some 25 miles from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland where 17 people were shot and killed by 19-year-old Nicolas Cruz – a former student at the school
Students from the high school where the shooting took place spoke passionately during Saturday’s rally in front of the federal courthouse, pleading with lawmakers to change the nation’s gun laws.
Videos posted on social media by students and journalists show hundreds of people gathered, chanting and holding signs.
One teen, Emma Gonzalez, angrily criticized politicians who take campaign contributions from the National Rifle Association, and challenged them to stop taking money.
She also said adults who knew that the shooter was mentally ill should have done more to prevent him from having a weapon
“You are responsible, you are responsible,” they chanted. “We are not responsible, we are not responsible.”
“Money killed my friends,” read one sign. “Stop gun violence now,” read another. “My friend died for what?” a third.
Students and parents spoke at the rally, with many calling out lawmakers, the NRA and President Trump.
“The people in the government who are voted into power are lying to us. And us kids seem to be the only ones who notice and our parents to call ‘B.S.,’ ” one student said during her speech. “We are prepared to call ‘B.S.’”
The shooting at a Florida high school that left 17 people dead is prompting calls for school protests around the country.
The Network for Public Education and the American Federation of Teachers called on students, teachers and administrators to organize sit-ins, walkouts and other acts of protest on April 20, the anniversary of the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado.
The groups said the goal is to get lawmakers to enact gun control legislation.
American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said the answer to school violence is to keep guns away from people who should not have them. She said she hopes the April 20 protest turns into a broader movement for change.
Vice President Mike Pence talked about school safety during a speech today in Dallas, but didn’t give specifics.
In a speech Saturday, he said the Justice Department is working with other agencies to “study the intersection of mental health and criminality.”
He said that when Presidents Trump meets with governors in a few weeks, he will make school safety a top priority for the administration.
He said the administration will “take a renewed look” at giving law enforcement and local authorities the tools they need to deal with people struggling with dangerous mental illness.
Stunned by a horrific shooting at a Florida high school that left 17 people dead, Florida state Legislature is grappling with what to do in the aftermath.
Some GOP legislators wanted to consider a bill to put trained, armed volunteers or school employees inside the state’s public schools.
The Senate Judiciary Committee was scheduled to take up the legislation (SB 1236), but Sen. Greg Steube, the committee chairman, announced late Friday that the measure would not be taken up after all. Steube made his decision after several top senators said they were opposed to considering the bill.
Groups opposed to the bill flooded legislators with phone calls the last two days.
As families begin burying their dead, authorities are questioning whether they could have prevented the attack on a South Florida high school where a gunman took the lives of 14 students, the athletic director, a coach and a geography teacher.
At funerals and in the streets of Parkland, anger bubbled over at the senselessness of the shooting and at the widespread availability of guns. A rally to support gun-safety legislation was scheduled for Saturday at the federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale.
During the funeral for 18-year-old Meadow Pollack, her father looked down at his daughter’s plain pine coffin and screamed in anguish as Gov. Rick Scott and 1,000 other mourners looked on.
The suspect, Nikolas Cruz, has been jailed on 17 counts of murder.
Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly (Va.) joined dozens of protesters outside the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia at an earlier rally on Friday demanding action on gun control – where he blamed Wednesday’s shooting in Parkland, Fla., on the NRA’s contributions to lawmakers in Congress.
“Children are dead because of you,” Connolly said.
Democrats and others have rallied against the NRA and pro-gun groups after the Parkland shooting, which involved an AR-15, the same style of weapon used in the 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school shooting.
Former Rep. David Jolly (R-Fla.) blasted members of his own party after the attack, saying Republicans would not do “a single thing” to prevent further shootings.
“And so if this is the issue that defines your ideology as a voter, there are two things I would suggest tonight. First, flip the House. Flip the House,” Jolly said. “Republicans are not going to do a single thing after this shooting we saw today. But I would also offer to Democrats, work for incremental wins.”
“The idea of gun policy in the Republican Party is to try to get a speaking slot at the NRA and prove to that constituency that you’re further right than generations past of Republicans have been on guns,” he added.
EARLIER: 13 of 17 Victims of Deadly Parkland, Florida School Shooting Identified – Parkland, Florida: 13 of 17 victims killed in the deadly mass shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Wednesday by 19-year-old Nicolas Cruz – a former student at the school- have been identifie. 12 deceased victims were found inside the high school, 2 were outside the building, 1 person was along the street, and 2 people died at the hospital. Those identified are:
Meadow Pollack: a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was amongst those who died in the massacre on Feb. 14, 2018, her father told the Palm Beach Post. Andrew Pollack, her dad, went to the Broward North Hospital looking for his daughter and her mother was at the school searching for her before they learned of her death.
Peter Wang: 15, was killed in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left at least 17 people dead on Feb. 14, 2018. “He wasn’t supposed to die. He was supposed to grow old with me. Please share his story,” Wang’s cousin, Aaron Chen, told First Coast News.
Aaron Feis: who worked as an assistant football coach and security guard at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was critically injured when he shielded students from gunfire during the shooting in Parkland, Florida. The school’s football team later confirmed that he died from his injuries. “He selflessly shielded students from the shooter when he was shot. He died a hero and he will forever be in our hearts and memories,” MS Douglas Football wrote on Twitter.
Luke Hoyer: was among the students that had been killed after a gunman opened fire on classrooms at the at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14, 2018.
Alaina Petty: The death of 14-year-old Alaina Petty was confirmed by the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints in the wake of the deadly rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Jamie Guttenberg: A student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, was among those who died in the massacre that killed at least 17 people and wounded 14 others on Feb. 14, 2018.
Martin Duque: A 14-year-old freshman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, died in the shooting. His older brother, Miguel Duque, confirmed the tragic news on a GoFundMe page set up to help raise money for his burial. “He was sweet and caring and loved by all his family,” Miguel wrote. “Most of all he was my baby brother. My family and I have no words to describe the event that’s has happened on this date, all my prayers to the lost ones. My family and I will appreciate anything that we can get helped with.”
Alyssa Alhadaff: A student and soccer player at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was killed in the massacre that left at least 17 people dead on Feb. 14, 2018. Her family confirmed her death and offered a heartfelt message to those who knew and loved her. “To Alyssa’s friends, honor Alyssa by doing something fabulous in your life,” her family said in a statement. “Dont’ ever give up and aspire for greatness. Live for Alyssa! Be her voice and breathe for her. Alyssa loved you all forever!”
Scott J. Beigel: A geography teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, died while protecting students in his classroom during the shooting that killed 17 people and wounded 14 others. The 35-year unlocked his classroom door to let students take shelter in his classroom when he struck by a bullet and killed. “He unlocked the door and let us in. I thought he was behind me, but he wasn’t,” student Kelsey Friend sobbed in an interview on GMA. “When he opened the door, he had to re-lock it so that we could stay safe but he didn’t get the chance.”
Nicholas Dworet: A student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was tragically killed when suspected gunman Nikolas Cruz opened fire on classrooms with a semiautomatic AR-15 rifle on Feb. 14, 2018.
Gina Montalto: A freshman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was killed when suspected gunman Nikolas Cruz shot a barrage of bullets into classrooms on Feb. 14, 2018.
Alex Schachter: 14, was killed in the gunman’s rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14, 2018.
Chris Hixon: Athletic director and wrestling coach at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was killed in the massacre on Feb. 14, 2018. Hixon, 49, was described as “such a great guy,” by Dan Jacob, a fellow athletic director from Broward County. “Chris is probably the nicest guy I have ever met. He would give you the shirt off his back. He does so much … I am crushed … I am totally crushed,” he told the Sun Sentinel.
Joaquin Oliver: who was born in Venezuela, officially became a U.S. citizen on Jan. 17, according to his Instagram. The 17-year-old senior, who was close to both his mother and girlfriend, was confirmed dead on Thursday.
“I’m in such shock I don’t know what to say,” Oliver’s brother posted on Twitter on Thursday. “I love you so much, I hope you’re in a better place, and I’ll never forget you.”
Helena Ramsey: Officials with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office said on Thursday afternoon that Helena Ramsey was among those killed on Wednesday. A family member wrote on Facebook on Thursday that Helena was “a smart, kind hearted, and thoughtful person. She was deeply loved and loved others even more so. Though she was some what reserved, she had a relentless motivation towards her academic studies, and her soft warm demeanor brought the best out in all who knew her.”
Carmen Schentrup : A sophomore, was a 2017 National Merit Scholar semifinalist.
A friend wrote on Facebook: “I was in the same classroom as this beautiful soul, she was so bright and had her entire life ahead of her. She was someone we all praised for her intelligence.”
Our Cover image from left moving clockwise:
Top Row – Carmen Schentrup, Aaron Feis, Martin Duque, Scott J. Beigel, Nicholas Dworet, Gina Montalto
Middle Row – Alyssa Alhadeff, Luke Hoyer, Meadow Pollack, Alex Schachter, Helena Ramsey
Bottom Row – Peter Wang, Chris Hixon, Jaime Guttenberg, Joaquin Oliver, Alaina Petty, Cara Loughran
The list was updated to include all 17 killed as the names were made public. 14 others were wounded, five with life-threatening injuries.
The shooter, Nicolas Cruz, fled on foot but was later captured. The Sheriff says Cruz was expelled from the school for disciplinary reasons.
There was a massive police response, including a SWAT team. The FBI and ATF are also responding.
The school was placed on lockdown. Although, students and staff were seen fleeing from the building.
Officials say Cruz was armed with an AR-15 and multiple magazines when he entered the school and opened fire.
President Donald Trump “has been made aware of the school shooting in Florida. We are monitoring the situation. Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected,” the White House said.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (R) said late Wednesday that the state will pay the funeral expenses of the victims.
Bondi during a news conference called the shooting a “horrible tragedy.”
“Sadly, we’ve been through this before,” she said.
“I have five advocates heading in right now, I will have at least 10 more tomorrow, driving in from all over the state,” she continued.
“We will pay for the funeral expenses of these poor victims and do everything we can to help their families.”
She added that the state of Florida will pay for counseling for the survivors.
With 17 confirmed fatalities, the shooting in Parkland, Florida is the third deadliest school shooting in US history:
-VA Tech (2007): 32 dead
-Sandy Hook (2012): 26 dead
-Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS (today, February 14, 2018): 17 dead
-TX Tech (1966): 16 dead
-Columbine (1999): 13 dead
The suspected gunman has reportedly confessed to the Broward County Sheriff Department on Thursday and said he had more ammunition in his backpack.