Coral Springs Mayor Skip Campbell said moments later there have been “multiple fatalities” while Broward Sheriff reported “14 victims” have been taken to nearby hospitals.
The suspected gunman, believed to be wearing a gasmask, opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shortly after 2pm local time (7pm GMT) just as students were preparing to leave for the day.
Some local reports claim he pressed the fire alarm and shot at students as they evacuated the premises.
The suspect is now in police custody, according to a spokesman for the Broward County Sheriff, following a dramatic showdown around a mile away from the school.
Police believe the suspect is a student at the school and said he was wearing a hoodie and has red hair and freckles.
He is also believed to be a member of the US Army Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program.
Police surrounded the school in Parkland, Broward County, and a SWAT team was sent in to try to bring the situation under control.
The school has been placed on a “code red” lockdown as the event unfolded.
Florida shooting: Emergency services have rushed to the school
A CBS Miami anchor said: “I am in touch with a student inside the school, in hiding in a tiny closet with a lot of classmates and their drama teacher.
“They are all okay, but they are scared, as you can imagine.”
Caesar Figueroa told CBS News his daughter was inside the school.
He said: “My daughter, as of right now, she’s still trapped in a closet. She’s afraid to speak. “I told her, ‘Don’t call me, because I don’t want no one to hear your voice.’ So, she’s still trapped in a closet in there.”
Aerial footage shows a SWAT team, dozens of police vehicles and a tank at the scene.
Students are evacuated from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during the incident
School Superintendent Robert Runcie said: “I can’t confirm the number at this point but there are numerous fatalities here.
“Its a horrific situation. It’s just a horrible day for us.
“We have no evidence that there has been more than one shooter.
“I believe there is an administrator or a teacher who is involved, there may be more.
“It’s a day that you pray every day that you will never have to see. It is in front of us and I ask the community for their prayers, their support for these children and their families.
“We’re doing everything we possibly can. The students are being evacuated and released at the moment so we’re working through that process right now.”
He added: “We received no indication, no warning but there is going to be a thorough investigation.
The suspected gunman has been taken to hospital after he was apprehended by police
“There weren’t any warnings, there weren’t any phone calls or threats.
“We cannot live in a world that is built on fear, we have to do what we can to make sure we provide the greatest safety measures we can for our kids.
“What I will say is mental health issues for our kids in this country are growing and that is something that we will need to address.
“No sane person is going to attempt such an atrocity so it is something we will have to deal with.”
A man placed in handcuffs is led by police near the school
Student Michael Katz told ABC News that at the end of the day he “heard what sounded like a garbage truck like banging.”
“Then also I hear, ‘Boom, boom, boom.’ I hear screaming everywhere,” he said. “I just got underneath my teacher’s desk.
“We had police invade the school, and we were taken out.
“Fortunately, my father was there to pick me up.”
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A victim is taken away by emergency services
There are 3,208 children in grades 9—12 enrolled at the school.
Coral Springs Police have warned people to avoid the area.
Parkland is about 15 miles (24 km) west of Fort Lauderdale.
Heavily armed officers are at the scene and the FBI are responding
In a statement Senator Marco Rubio said: “We are monitoring the horrible unfolding situation in Broward County, Florida with reports of a shooting at a local high school.”
The White House has issued a statement, saying: “The President has been made aware of the school shooting in Florida. We are monitoring the situation. Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected.”
Florida Governor Rick Scott said on Twitter that had he had been in touch with local officials about the incident.
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