‘So horrific, so pathetic’: Florida officials push for mental health funding support

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PARKLAND, Fla. -- Law enforcement and state and federal officials spoke to reporters Thursday about the latest developments in Wednesday's deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

The suspect, Nikolas Cruz, 19, allegedly gunned down students and staff with a rifle at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland shortly before 3 p.m. after activating a fire alarm, sending people outside unaware of what was to come, officials said.

A total of 17 people died.

Cruz faces 17 counts of premeditated murder.

The following was released during Thursday's press conference.

• The FBI in 2017 received information about a comment on a YouTube channel that read: "I'm going to be a professional school shooter," with no other information, said Rob Lasky, special agent in charge of the FBI's Miami division. The FBI did a database review but couldn't identify the person who wrote the comment.

Earlier, a law enforcement official told CNN on condition of anonymity that the FBI received at least two alleged threat reports about Nikolas Cruz, the man accused of committing Wednesday's shooting. One of those was about the YouTube post about being a professional school shooter, the source said.

• President Donald Trump says he is making plans to visit Parkland to meet with families and local officials.

• An armed resource deputy was at the school's campus, but that deputy never encountered Cruz, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said.

• Florida Gov. Rick Scott said he will have conversations with state leaders next week about "how to make sure individuals with mental illness do not touch a gun." "If someone is mentally ill, they should not have access to a gun," he said.

• Scott said he also will discuss how to make sure that parents know their children will be safe at school.

• "The violence has to stop. We cannot lose another child in this country to violence at a school," Scott said.

• Broward County schools superintendent Rob Runcie said that "now is the time for this country to have a real conversation on sensible gun control laws in this country." He also said real funding for mental health support was needed.

• Runcie praised school athletic director Chris Hixon, who died in the shooting. Hixon gave his life "for our kids and probably helped prevent this from being a worse tragedy," Runcie said.

• Pamela Bondi, Florida's attorney general, said the government will be helping with hospital bills and funeral bills and will provide counseling to those affected.

• The families of the 17 people who died in Wednesday's shooting all have been notified, lsrael, the sheriff, said.

• The suspect, Cruz, 19, will make a court appearance Thursday at 2 p.m. ET at the Broward County courthouse, Israel said.

• "I'm going to be very animated about what I think this country can do to possibly prevent these tragedies in the future," Israel said.

• "Copycat threats" have been made at other schools, and anyone found to be making hoax calls will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, Israel said. "We will respond to every threat. ... We will respond in full and investigate it." Anyone responsible for fake threats will be charged accordingly for doing something "so horrific, so pathetic," he added.

• The bodies of some victims are still at the school, Israel said. Authorities' focus is on the "successful prosecution of this killer," he said. "We want to go fast, but we're not going to rush it. We want to get it right."

Continuing coverage here. 


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