President offers condolences after Florida shooting
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President offers condolences after Florida shooting

'The people of Israel stand with the people of Florida, and all America,' Reuven Rivlin writes

Parents wait for news after reports of a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida., on February 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Joel Auerbach)
Parents wait for news after reports of a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida., on February 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Joel Auerbach)

President Reuven Rivlin on Thursday expressed condolences over a shooting rampage at a Florida high school, in which an ex-pupil opened fire with an AR-15 rifle, killing at least 17 people.

“The people of stand with the people of , and all America, in grief this morning. Our hearts go out to the victims and their families,” Rivlin wrote on his Twitter account.

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel identified the gunman as Nikolas Cruz, 19, a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland who had been expelled for “disciplinary reasons.”

He was arrested without incident in the nearby town of Coral Springs after the Valentine’s Day killing spree and taken to a hospital with minor injuries, the sheriff said.

The shooting happened even though police officers were present at the school, NBC News reported.

President Reuven Rivlin speaks at the 15th annual Jerusalem Conference of the ‘Besheva’ group, on February 12, 2018.(Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Pupils at the school have spoken about Cruz as a loner who enjoyed hunting and liked doing “reckless stuff.”

Brandon Minoff, a senior at the school said he had two classes with Cruz two years ago. He told NBC News that while it was “surreal” to hear Cruz named as the suspect, “I wasn’t surprised.”

“I got paired with him for a project, and he started talking to me about his life — how he was held back twice, expelled from two private schools. He likes to do reckless stuff,” Minoff said.

“He had aspirations to join the military,” Minoff added. “He enjoyed hunting.”

Sebastian Toala, another senior, told NBC Miami, “I never really got close to him, because I always had a feeling there was something wrong.”

Parkland, in north Broward County, is some 30 miles northwest of Fort Lauderdale.

Local 10 News, an ABC affiliate, named one of the dead students as Jaime Guttenberg, who was Jewish. The Israeli Foreign Ministry said it did not know of any Israeli victims in the shooting.

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