An orphaned 19-year-old with a troubled past and an AR-15 rifle has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder after being questioned for hours by police following the deadliest school shooting in the US in five years.
Fifteen wounded survivors were hospitalised as bodies were recovered from inside and around Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.
Police say Nikolas Cruz, equipped with smoke grenades and multiple magazines of ammunition, opened fire with a semi-automatic weapon, killing 17 people and sending hundreds of students fleeing into the streets.
It was the nation’s deadliest school shooting since 26 people died when a gunman attacked an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, more than five years ago.
CNN, citing law enforcement sources, said the gunman tried to blend in with students who were fleeing the school but was spotted and taken into custody without a fight about an hour after the shooting in a neighbourhood about two kilometres away.
He had multiple magazines of ammunition, authorities said.
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