A gunman set off fire alarms at a Florida high school on Feb. 14, luring hundreds of students out of their classrooms so he could open fire with a semi-automatic AR-15 assault rifle.
After firing several rounds, the shooting suspect, identified as 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, dropped his weapon and hid among the crowd as authorities evacuated students and faculty members from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Police captured Cruz over an hour later in Coral Springs, located about a mile away. He was taken to a local hospital and then released into police custody.
Cruz has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder. Fourteen others were wounded in the shooting, including several with life-threatening injuries.
Below is a timeline of events that detail how the shooting unfolded.
Wednesday, Feb. 14
Cruz was picked up by an Uber, before he was dropped off at the high school at 2:19 p.m., a Wednesday timeline from the Broward County Sheriff’s Office showed.
Cruz went into Building 12’s east stairwell with a rifle in a case, according to the timeline. He goes “through all three floors, shooting several students and faculty inside the classrooms and hallways of the building.”
Cruz got out and ran in the direction of tennis courts before going south, according to the sheriff’s office. At 2:29 p.m., it said he crossed a field and ran west with other people.
Students reportedly were texting about a shooter at the school.
Cruz went into a Walmart and purchased a drink at a Subway inside and left the store, per the sheriff’s office timeline.
Deputies responded to reports of a shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office confirmed in a tweet.
WSVN, a local news station, reported that there were at least five people injured at the school.
The sheriff’s office warned the public to “avoid the area of Stoneman Douglas HS” as authorities investigated reports of an active shooter.
The Broward County Sheriff’s Office timeline said Cruz went to a McDonald’s, sat down briefly and left.
A student shared a photo to Twitter to show where he and other students were hiding.
The sheriff’s office tweeted the shooter was still at large.
Broward Schools said the school was on lockdown after students and faculty heard what sounded like gunfire.
Broward Schools began dismissing students from the school.
“We are receiving reports of possible multiple injuries,” the school district tweeted. “Law enforcement and the District’s Special Investigative Unit are currently on site.”
A Coconut Creek police officer detained Cruz in Coral Springs, the timeline indicated, adding that detectives with the sheriff’s office performed a show-up procedure.
President Trump tweeted about the shooting, offering his “prayers and condolences.”
The shooter was taken into custody, the sheriff’s office confirmed in a tweet, warning that the scene was still active.
The sheriff’s office tweeted there were at least 14 “victims,” who “have been and continue to be transported to Broward Health Medical Center and Broward Health North hospital.”
The suspected shooter was taken to a local hospital.
Florida Sen. Bill Nelson said there were “a number of fatalities.”
Israel confirmed the shooter was not a current student at Stoneman Douglas High School.
In a separate tweet, the sheriff’s office said SWAT teams were still clearing the school.
Students started to reunite with their parents.
Sheriff Israel said 17 people were killed in the shooting.
The sheriff’s office identified the shooting suspect as 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz.
A local news reporter for WSVN tweeted a photo of the suspect being detained by police.
Thursday, Feb. 15
Trump urged the public to always report suspicious behavior to authorities.
“So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem,” Trump tweeted. “Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!”
Cruz was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder, Israel announced in a news conference.
Trump addressed the nation, describing the massacre as a “scene of terrible violence, hatred, and evil.”
He vowed to work with state and local leaders to help “secure our schools and tackle the difficult issue of mental health.”
Cruz made a court appearance on 17 counts of murder. The judge ordered him to be held without bond.
Cruz confessed to arriving at the high school with an AR-15 rifle and a backpack of “additional loaded magazines” and told investigators he shot “students that he saw in the hallways and on school grounds,” according to an arrest affidavit filed Thursday evening.
Friday, Feb. 16
Cruz may plead guilty to avoid the death penalty, his lawyer reportedly said Friday.
On Friday, President Trump and first lady Melania Trump visited Broward Health North Hospital in Florida — the same hospital where many of the shooting victims were treated. The two met with survivors and medical professionals while they were there.
Later that evening, Trump tweeted photos of the visit.
Monday, Feb. 19
Cruz arrived at a Fort Lauderdale courtroom for a hearing that started at 1 p.m. During the hearing, a judge ruled that already-sealed documents remain that way, WPTV reported.
Broward County Public Schools announced that classes are slated to resume at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School “on a modified schedule” on Feb. 27.
Wednesday, Feb. 21
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said at a press conference Wednesday evening that county deputies who are qualified will now carry rifles on school campuses.
When the rifles are not in use, they will be locked in patrol cars, he said, adding that the school district’s superintendent supports his decision.
“Only deputies who are trained and qualified will carry those rifles. But we need to defeat any threat that comes onto campus,” he said.
The deputies will carry AR-15s, Israel said — the same type of gun that the suspected shooter Nikolas Cruz used. But the deputies’ rifles will not be fully automatic, he said, according to CBS News.
Earlier on Wednesday, Trump met with students and parents who have been affected by various school shootings. Many attendees pleaded with Trump to end gun violence at schools and suggested possible solutions.
Trump later tweeted about the discussion.
“I will always remember the time I spent today with courageous students, teachers and families,” he wrote. “So much love in the midst of so much pain. We must not let them down. We must keep our children safe!!”
Thursday, Feb. 22
Israel kicked off a Thursday afternoon press conference, during which he said that school resource Deputy Scot Peterson was “absolutely on campus for this entire event.”
“He was armed, he was in uniform,” Israel said of the BSO deputy. “After seeing video, witness statements and Scot Peterson’s very own statement, I decided this morning to suspend Scot Peterson without pay pending an internal investigation.” He added, Peterson instead resigned and retired.
“The investigation will continue,” the sheriff announced.
Israel said that “what I saw was a deputy arrive at the west side of Building 12, take up a position — and he never went in.”
He said that Peterson should have “went in, addressed the killer, killed the killer.”
Israel said he thought that Peterson stayed outside of the building “for upwards of four minutes.” He confirmed that the shooting lasted six minutes.
At one point during the briefing, a voice said, “He clearly knew there was a shooting.”
“Clearly,” the sheriff responded.
Friday, Feb. 23
Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced on Friday a “major action plan” in response to the deadly shooting on Feb. 14.
The plan is divided into three parts. The first, Scott said, is to keep guns away from dangerous and violent people. The second is a $450 million proposal to keep schools safe. And the third, according to Scott, is a $50 million proposal to expand mental health care initiatives in the state.
More specifically, the plan proposes to raise the minimum age to purchase a gun to 21, ban mentally ill people from buying a gun and place at least one law enforcement officer at every school.
You can read more about the $500 million plan here.
Several Broward sheriff’s deputies reportedly waited outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during the Valentine’s Day massacre.
The Florida Sun-Sentinel reported that according to police sources at least three Broward deputies, including deputy Scot Peterson, waited outside.
The news comes just a day after Peterson resigned under fire because he allegedly stayed outside the high school during the shooting. Trump later labeled Peterson as a “coward” for his alleged inaction.
“BSO detectives are investigating the claim from the Coral Springs Police Department that some deputies did not go into the school when they should have,” the Broward Sheriff’s Office tweeted. “Stop reporting it as a fact.”
Sunday, Feb. 25
Israel appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” in an interview with Jake Tapper.
Tapper said he was “told by sources in Coral Springs that Coral Springs police who arrived at the scene saw that three other Broward deputies were standing behind cars not having gone into the building.”
Israel said the “investigation to this point shows that, during this horrific attack, while this killer was inside the school, there was only one law enforcement person, period, and that was former Deputy Scot Peterson.”
He added, “Coral Springs arrived, a group of Coral Springs officers went in within, I think, about four minutes, we’re projecting, after the killer left the campus.”
The sheriff said he understood “that they’re going to give statements to us regarding the other three, four, five deputies. At this point, we have no reason to believe that anyone acted incorrectly or correctly.”
The sheriff was later asked about a Saturday letter sent by state Rep. Bill Hager, R-Boca Raton, to the governor which called for Israel’s ouster.
“It was a shameful – of course I won’t resign,” Israel said. “It was a shameful letter. It was politically motivated.”
Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Pasco County, tweeted that he sent a letter to Scott calling for him to fire Israel.
“I was honored to be joined by 73 Republican colleagues,” Corcoran wrote.
A tweet from a Politico reporter indicated Scott wouldn’t fire or suspend Israel — at least not right away.
It included a shot of a statement from the governor, in which he said that he has called on the Florida Department of Law Enforcement “to immediately investigate the law enforcement response and will continue to review this matter as more facts come out.”
“I have spoken to Speaker Corcoran about his request and I understand his concerns,” Scott said.
Parkland shooting survivor Jaclyn Collins tweeted, “Going back to school for the first time…this movement is for the 17.”
A voluntary orientation was scheduled to take place at the school from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., according to Broward County Public Schools.
The sheriff’s office tweeted that it “welcomes Governor Scott’s call for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate the law enforcement response to the Parkland school shooting.”
Fox News’ Shira Bush, Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Kathleen Joyce, Zoe Szathmary, Robert Gearty and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
The Dissident director Bryan Fogel on Khashoggi film: ‘Hearing the recording of Jamal’s murder would make it a shock horror – I didn’t want that’ | Ents & Arts News
As President Joe Biden releases an explosive report implicating Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, Sky News talks to filmmaker Bryan Fogel about his new documentary about the killing – The Dissident.
WARNING: This article contains graphic and upsetting details about Jamal Khashoggi’s death.
The murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was without doubt violent and senseless – but in making a documentary about his death, Oscar-winning director Bryan Fogel knew one thing was key – it mustn’t become a horror film.
When the 59-year-old Washington Post columnist walked into the Saudi embassy in Istanbul at around 1.14pm on 2 October 2018 to pick up documents that would allow him to embark on a new marriage, he little knew what awaited him inside.
Despite his fiancee, Hatice Cenzig, waiting outside on the pavement for him until the early hours of the morning, Mr Khashoggi never walked out of the building.
A team of 15 Saudi government agents – including a forensic expert specialising in autopsies – flew into Turkey days before the killing and left shortly after. Mr Khashoggi’s remains have never been found.
Bizarrely, a lookalike, wearing his clothes, did exit from the back door later that afternoon as CCTV footage shows. The clothes were later retrieved by Turkish authorities from a public toilet waste bin.
Saudi authorities have since admitted Mr Khashoggi was killed in a “rogue” extradition operation, but have denied involvement from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whose policies were often criticised in the writer’s columns.
Mr Khashoggi was well connected (he was the first cousin of Dodi Fayed among other notable family connections), with over two-million Twitter followers, columns in the Washington Post and regular guest slots on UK and US TV news channels.
This influence was enough to have him labelled “an enemy of state” by his home country.
Many of the details of the case read like the plot excerpts from a crime novel, with the story feverishly covered around the world, but despite the high levels of drama, filmmaker Fogel tells Sky News he wanted to focus on something far more important.
“I was drawn to this story because of the bigger issues. Jamal’s murder was utterly horrific in its nature, but it also shines a light into what is happening in this part of the world, what is happening on the reaches of authoritarian regimes and where the money and business interests are so powerful that somebody can get away with a crime such as this.”
Featuring never before seen footage, including videos of forensic testing inside the consulate, he was also given access to the 37-page transcript of Mr Khashoggi’s final moments – a document never previously released to global media.
Handed to him by the Turkish authorities after working closely with them for a year, he was also offered access to the audio recordings themselves – but drew a line.
He tells Sky News: “Hearing Jamal being murdered would serve no purpose to an audience other than to shock and to put it into a different genre of category – that of horror film – which is not what I was seeking to make. So, I made that choice to not include the audio…
“I felt that to put it into the film would go into a territory that I didn’t want to as a filmmaker and as an activist… And I didn’t want Hatice to hear that. I didn’t want Jamal’s family to hear that. We know what happened.”
Although a hardened journalist in his own right – with experience of dealing with corruption at high levels from his 2017 documentary Icarus about the Russian doping scandal – he also admits it was a decision that helps him sleep at night.
“I chose not to listen to it. We all know that he was murdered. We all know it was horrific. We all know he was chopped to pieces by blunt bone saw. What was that going to do other than to give me more nightmares and trauma in regard to this case than I’ve already experienced?”
And in truth, the transcript alone provides enough graphic detail to chill, with the document showing that Mr Khashoggi – who is referred to by one official as a “sacrificial animal” as he enters the consulate – taking seven and a half minutes to die, with his final words, “I can’t breathe”.
Recordings suggest Mr Khashoggi’s body is then dismembered by a bone saw and part of his body burnt in a tandoori oven in the garden.
The existence of this audio recording is thanks to another detail that would sit well in a crime thriller – Turkish authorities had previously bugged the consulate and were recording every word and noise that took place in the media room where Mr Khashoggi was killed.
Despite delving into a murky murder case with very powerful players at its heart, Fogel says he has the privilege of not having felt threatened at any point in its making.
“Being American hopefully still offers me some protection. I am not living in the Middle East… I don’t really try to spend a lot of time looking over my shoulder when I’m engaging in making a film like this, because if I was then I shouldn’t be making content such as this.”
However, Fogel isn’t immune to the emotional toll of such a distressing story.
In the film, we see inside the flat bought by Mr Khashoggi to start his new life with fiancee Hatice as she enters it for the first time since his death.
With the cupboards and walls still covered with black fingerprint powder, the cameras follow her into her intended marital home. Fogel describes it as a “difficult” experience.
“That day that I shot with her, as we were allowed back into what was going to be their home, she had not been able to set foot in there in the six months prior to that as first of all, they weren’t married.
“Second of all, had been turned into a crime scene and she didn’t have access to that apartment. I mean, it was is heart-breaking. That day that we shot was about as authentic as I could get.”
And Fogel says it was that access to someone so close to Mr Khashoggi which was so important to the success of the documentary.
“If you’re able to engage an audience and able to bring an emotional connection to the viewer, that emotional connection creates resonance which in turn can create impact and change.”
While Mr Khashoggi’s death drew global attention and generated front pages and column inches around the world, the response from international world leaders was distinctly more muted.
French, British, and American governments largely turned a blind eye to the murder, and recommendations by independent expert on extrajudicial killings for the UN Agnes Callamard went unheeded, despite her own investigation finding credible evidence of high-level Saudi officials’ individual liability, including that of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.
Now, with the recent change of US government and Joe Biden’s subsequent declassification of a US intelligence report into the murder, many believe that leading nations will now have to reappraise their relations with the kingdom.
Ms Callamard is certainly hopeful this will be the case, telling Sky News in a statement: “The Director of National Intelligence (DNI) report will further pave the way towards greater accountability for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. The United States will be in the position to take the lead in… setting in place the international mechanisms to prevent and punish such acts in the future.
“This should include calling for the establishment of an international standing instrument for human rights and criminal investigation into allegations of targeted killing, or other acts of violence against journalists, human rights defenders or others targeted because of their peaceful activities or expressions.”
Speaking ahead of the report’s release, Fogel too was optimistic: “Time will tell exactly what further actions Biden takes, but clearly there is an appetite there for justice and accountability.”
However, as to whether a similar scandal could ever take place again, the filmmaker is rightly cautious: “I don’t think they’re going to chop up somebody inside of a consulate again… But, I think the authoritarian playbook in today’s day and age is increasingly allowing crimes like these to go unpunished.
“So, while there’s been a tonne of global attention on this murder, really the punishment of this has remained completely elusive.
“I don’t think we’re going to see something this brazen, but I do think we’re going to see a continuation of human rights abuses like this unless there truly is a price to pay. And so far, there hasn’t been.”
Eight men were eventually convicted of murder, with five sentenced to death, but the death penalty was commuted to 20 years in prison after reportedly being forgiven by Mr Khashoggi’s family.
In 2018, Mr Khashoggi was posthumously named Time magazine’s person of the year.
Sky News has contacted the Foreign Office for comment on any UK response following the US release of the declassified intelligence report into Mr Khashoggi’s death.
The Dissident will have its UK Premiere online at the Glasgow Film Festival on 6 March, and Irish Premiere online at the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival on 13 March.
Taylor Swift cancels postponed shows – and warns ‘near future’ of live gigs remains unclear | Ents & Arts News
Taylor Swift has announced that she is cancelling a series of tour dates that were previously postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
In a candid statement, the 31-year-old star also warned that the “near future” of live performances remains unclear.
Swift had suspended her whole 2020 tour last April – expressing hope that shows in the US and Brazil could be moved to a later date.
But on Friday, she wrote on her website: “I love coming on here to tell you good news, or to share a new project with you. It’s not my favourite thing in the world to have to tell you news I’m sad about. I’m so sorry, but I cannot reschedule the shows that we’ve postponed.
“Although refunds have been available since we first postponed the Lover Fest shows, many of you hung onto your tickets and I too hung onto the idea that we could reschedule.”
She told her fans that “she can’t wait ’til we can safely be at shows together again”, but added: “This is an unprecedented pandemic that has changed everyone’s plans and no one knows what the touring landscape is going to look like in the near future.
“I’m so disappointed that I won’t be able to see you in person as soon as I wanted to.”
Despite the setback, 2020 wasn’t full of doom and gloom for Swift. She managed to release two albums during lockdown, with both achieving huge commercial success and critical acclaim.
Swift is one of the world’s biggest stars, and the cancellations will undoubtedly come as a blow to the live events industry.
But there have been some promising developments in recent days, with the organisers announcing that the Reading and Leeds music festivals will be able to go ahead based on the government’s roadmap out of England’s lockdown.
Stormzy, Post Malone and Liam Gallagher are confirmed acts to headline the twin events, which will run on the bank holiday weekend from 27 to 29 August.
A post on Twitter added: “Following the government’s recent announcement, we can’t wait to get back to the fields this summer. LET’S GO.”
‘One of a kind’ puppy born with six legs and two tails – and it could be a big advantage | Offbeat News
A puppy with six legs has been born in the US – and vets are describing her as a “miracle”.
It’s believed that Skipper was supposed to have a twin, but they failed to completely split apart… meaning she has twice as many body parts from the waist down.
Although she has just one head and chest, she’s got two pelvic regions, two reproductive systems, and two tails.
Veterinary specialists say they haven’t been able to find any published case studies of a puppy being born alive with her congenital condition.
Skipper was born in Oklahoma City on 16 February, and at a check-up 10 days later, she was described as “strong and determined”.
Because her condition is congenital as opposed to genetic, vets are optimistic that Skipper has a good life ahead of her.
At this point, they don’t think she’ll need to have any of her legs removed because they are all responding to stimulus.
Her extra legs could even serve as an advantage and help with her stability and balance as she learns how to walk.
The top priority now is teaching her human mum how to perform a simple range of motion exercises that will help keep her legs strong.
With 50% more paws to love, offers have been coming in thick and fast to support Skipper as she grows up.
The pampered pooch’s family have been offered funds to foot her veterinary bills… and a lifetime supply of treats to boot.
Neel Veterinary Hospital added: “Positively, her organs appear to be in great shape, she is peeing and pooping, and is very strong! She nurses well and is growing appropriately so far.”
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The Dissident director Bryan Fogel on Khashoggi film: ‘Hearing the recording of Jamal’s murder would make it a shock horror – I didn’t want that’ | Ents & Arts News
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