Described as a loner by a former classmate, the 19-year-old returned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School with an AR15 rifle and gunned down at least 17 people in a massacre that ranks as one of the deadliest mass shooting in US history.
It is believed he had concealed himself among the hundreds of students attempting to flee the school in fear. Some students left the building, while others took cover in classrooms as the school went into full lockdown mode.
Fearing for their lives, students had been texting goodbyes to loved ones and family while others used their phones to document the incident.
Victims of the worst US school shooting in 25 years included both students and adults. Twelve were killed inside the building and two died just outside. Another person died in the street and two more later at the hospital.
President Trump has issued some statements on Twitter, labeling noting there were many signs that Cruz was mentally disturbed.
So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!
Parkland, with a population of 31,000 in 2016, was named Florida's safest city last year. The south Florida city had seven reported violent crimes and 186 property crimes the previous year, the analysis said.
Cruz was identified from school security videos and was found in the Coral Springs, Florida area shortly after.
Officers arrested him immediately and he is expected to appear in court