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Florida school shooting timeline: Seven minutes, three floors and 17 dead


Nikolas Cruz, the gunman charged with killing 17 people at a Parkland, Florida, high school Wednesday afternoon, has reportedly confessed to the shooting and, his attorney says, is now on suicide watch.

Cruz, according to a timeline put together by police, set off alarms as he entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, the school he had been expelled from, hoping to get more people into the hallways and into his line of fire.

After firing into classrooms and at students in the hallways, Cruz dropped the weapon he had with him, an AR-15 weapon purchased legally one year ago, and blended in with the crowd of students fleeing the building.

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From the school, he headed to a Subway and bought himself a soft drink, went to a McDonald's to sit for a few minutes, left the restaurant and was arrested a short time later without incident.

On Thursday, he was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.

Here, from information from the Broward County’s Sheriff’s Office, is a timeline of the events that happened that day.

Feb. 14, 2018 (all times are local Florida time)

  • 2:06 p.m.: An Uber driver picks up Cruz, who asks to be driven to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
  • 2:19 p.m.: It takes 13 minutes to get to the front of the school where the Uber driver drops Cruz off. He has with him an AR-15 inside of a soft gun case and a backpack filled with ammunition. According to a police report, a school employee recognizes Cruz and radios to a colleague that Cruz is headed toward the school’s Building 12.
  • 2:21:18 p.m.: Cruz enters the east stairwell of Building 12 with a rifle inside of the case. Police said the 19-year-old also had smoke grenades and a gas mask.
  • 2:21:30 p.m.: Twelve seconds later, Cruz has taken the rifle from the bag and readied it to fire. At some point, he pulls the fire alarm. Students would later say they were confused by the sound of a fire alarm because they had had a fire drill earlier that morning.
  • 2:21:33 p.m.: As students began to leave the building after the fire alarm, Cruz begins shooting into rooms 1215, 1216 and 1214. Students and teachers, hearing the gunshots, head back into the classrooms. Cruz goes back to rooms 1216 and 1215 fires into them again, then walks to 1213 and fires again. Cruz then takes the west stairwell to the second floor and shoots a person in room 1234.
  • 2:24:39 p.m.: Three minutes after the first shots are fired, Cruz heads up the east stairwell to the third floor of Building 12. According to some reports, he tries to bust out a window on the third floor to shoot at students as they flee the building. The windows in that part of the facility are shatterproof, and Cruz is unable to fire down from the third floor.
  • 2:27:37 p.m.: Three minutes after he gets to the third floor, he goes back into the stairwell, drops the rifle and his backpack and runs down the stairs.
  • 2:28:35 p.m.: Among the fleeing students and staff, he leaves Building 12 and runs west toward the school’s tennis courts, then turns and heads south.
  • 2:29:51 p.m.: A little more than a minute later, Cruz crosses a field and runs west, meeting up with others running from the school.
  • 2:50 p.m.: Some 30 minutes later, he arrives at Walmart. He goes to the Subway located inside the Walmart and buys a soft drink. He then leaves on foot.
  • 3:01 p.m.: Cruz goes to a McDonald’s and sits in the restaurant for a few minutes. He leaves the restaurant on foot.
  • 3:41 p.m.: Forty minutes later, an officer from the Coconut Creek Police Department spots Cruz on Wyndham Lakes Drive in Coral Springs. The Broward Sheriff’s Department responds to the call that the young man who is now a suspect in the shootings has been spotted. He is positively identified by officers and taken into custody without incident.


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