Who Is Nikolas Cruz? Parkland, Florida, High School Shooting Suspect Identified

Updated | The suspect in Wednesday's shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, has been identified by reports as Nikolas Cruz.

BREAKING: US official: Florida school shooter identified as Nicolas Cruz.

— The Associated Press (@AP) February 14, 2018

Cruz, a 19-year-old former student at the high school, was detained by police and taken to Broward Health North hospital in Pompano Beach briefly before being transferred to the Broward Sheriff's headquarters, the Miami Herald reported.

At least 17 people died in the massacre, deputies said.

Cruz had been expelled from the high school for "disciplinary reasons," Broward Sheriff Scott Israel told the newspaper on Wednesday night. He said investigators scoured social media sites the shooter may have visited and that some unverified images pictured a man purporting to be Cruz brandishing guns and knives.

"Our investigators began dissecting social media," Israel said. "Some of [the] thing[s] that come to mind are very, very disturbing."

According to a former math teacher of Cruz at the school, he had been previously identified as a security threat and had been informed last year that he wouldn't be allowed on campus with a backpack.

"We were told last year that he wasn't allowed on campus with a backpack on him," Jim Gard told the Herald. "There were problems with him last year threatening students, and I guess he was asked to leave campus."

Following the shooting, a male in a maroon shirt was shown being apprehended by police off campus. He was later picked up by an ambulance and transported to the hospital. Israel said that the suspect, who had been taken into custody, was not a current student, but they believed he had at one time attended the high school.

MORE: Male in red shirt appears to be handcuffed and apprehended by police officers in Parkland, Florida, following shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School https://t.co/1Y5NBGZMdE pic.twitter.com/EmZdGiSPIP

— CBS News (@CBSNews) February 14, 2018

#UPDATE: Broward Superintendent Robert Runcie confirms fatalities in school shooting pic.twitter.com/RrEwjnBCis

— WSVN 7 News (@wsvn) February 14, 2018

The Broward Sheriff stated that gunshot victims were being transferred to Broward Health Medical Center and Broward Health North Hospital.

Reports suggest that the shooting began shortly before students were dismissed for the day. The Broward Sheriff's Office tweeted at 2:53 p.m. about an "active shooter" situation at 5901 Pine Island Road in Parkland and that deputies were responding amid "reports of victims."

#BSO is working a developing incident regarding a report of active shooter located at 5901 Pine Island Rd, Parkland. Here's what we know so far: deputies are responding to reports of a shooting at Stoneman Douglas High. There are reports of victims. PIO will be on scene 3:15pm.

— Broward Sheriff (@browardsheriff) February 14, 2018

School board officials said students and staff heard what sounded like gunfire shortly before classes were dismissed and that the campus went on lockdown right away, NBC 6 South Florida reported.

Police issued a "be on the lookout" warning for a white male dressed in a burgundy shirt, the TV station reported at 3:24 p.m.

The high school has 3,208 students, grades nine through 12, according to local news outlets.

Following the shooting, President Donald Trump tweeted an offering of prayers and condolences to the victims of the shooting, adding that "no child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school."

My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting. No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 14, 2018

The president went on to say that he had spoken to Florida Governor Rick Scott and was working closely with local law enforcement.

Just spoke to Governor Rick Scott. We are working closely with law enforcement on the terrible Florida school shooting.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 14, 2018

This story has been updated with more information on Cruz and the number of reported deaths.