The suspect in Wednesday’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. reportedly gave a student a chilling warning moments before the murder-spree began.
Chris McKenna, a 15-year-old freshman at the school, told the Sun Sentinel he ran across the 19-year-old expelled former student, who said: “You’d better get out of here. Things are gonna start getting messy.”
McKenna was leaving a bathroom on the school’s second floor when he came face-to-face with Cruz, who was in the middle of loading his rifle.
After being warned by Cruz of the impending carnage, McKenna said he froze in place for a moment, then hastily fled.
The freshman exited the building and ran into junior varsity football coach and security guard Aaron Feis, who was unlocking gates for the approaching dismissal time.
Students at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida flee amid reports of a shooting at the school. “The school immediately went on lockdown but is now dismissing students,” Broward School District says. https://t.co/BuEAqGjCN1 pic.twitter.com/TWqjnIVT87
— ABC News (@ABC) February 14, 2018
“I told him I saw a gun,” McKenna recalled. “He said ‘let me go check it out.’ Then he drove me to the baseball field, dropped me off, and went back to the school. That’s the last I saw of him.”
The teenager told the Sun Sentinel he was with Feis the moment the fire alarm sounded–activated by Cruz to draw students out of their classrooms.
Feis later died from wounds he sustained while shielding students from gunfire.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) February 16, 2018
McKenna said three of his classmates were killed in the rampage and a fourth was wounded.
“I’m in shock,” he said. “That’s the only thing I can feel right now.”
Cruz was expelled from Stoneman Douglas for disciplainary reasons and reportedly knew the campus well.
“[He] knows the school layout, he knows where everyone would be at as of right now,” a student told WJXT-TV.
Cruz was armed with an AR-15 rifle, smoke grenades, and a gas mask.
After shooting at students and faculty for the space of three minutes, Cruz escaped the scene on foot by blending into the crowd of students before being arrested without incident in nearby Coral Springs–identified using footage from security cameras.
Cruz may face Florida’s death penalty for 17 counts of premeditated murder.