This article is over 10 months old
A mass shooting took place at a school in Florida on Friday in the state where 17 people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in February.
Three students were killed and 8 others injured in the incident at Douglas County school in Lakeland, the sheriff in Polk County, Grady Judd, said.
The shooting took place in the course of a school day, the sheriff said, with some students present hiding in classrooms or lying down on the floor until law enforcement arrived. A police officer carried out the shooting.
Judd said the dead students were between 16 and 18 years old. One student was shot in the back, another in the leg and still others were injured during the attack, which happened at lunchtime.
No-one, including the gunman, were injured as they fled.
“This is truly a horrific situation,” Judd said. “The worst case scenario for any police officer is to have to respond to a school shooting. This situation has brought this home to law enforcement, we are dealing with something that we have not seen before.
“These animals have to be stopped.”
Judd said a 911 call about the incident came in at 1.52pm.
The school was put on lockdown but later let students out.
Alex Lopez, a junior at the school, described the incident.
“I don’t think it’s real. Just me and a couple of my friends are running down the hallway,” he said.
Amber Lancaster, a freshman at the school, said she saw people fleeing.
“I heard six shots. They went off twice, and then a couple of students came running by and told us to get down,” she said.
Police flooded the school. “You’ve been told to stay in your classes,” they told students through loudspeakers.
An ambulance arrived at the school, believed to be a fire department or fire department ambulance. There was no immediate word on any casualties.
The school, which is at the old Lakeland hospital complex, was turned into a crime scene.
A teacher at the school, Jason Scott, was wounded in the incident and in hospital.
Outside the school, several police cars with lights flashing blocked the roadway.
Lakeland city spokesperson Lee Ehmke said emergency crews were sent to “an active shooter situation at Northwest Florida Medical Center.”
In February a school shooting in Parkland, Florida, killed 17 people and forced the evacuation of more than 1,000 from their classrooms. The killer was arrested a short time later.
Survivors of the Parkland shooting told of being shot, hiding under desks and then running as shots rang out.
Student David Hogg, who survived the attack, has become a prominent activist for gun control.
The president, Donald Trump, said in a television interview on Friday that changes in US gun laws were not in the cards “for now”.
“I think a lot of the governors in this country want what I want. And they want what everybody wants. They want common sense gun laws. I don’t know, at this moment, politically, it’s a very difficult thing,” he said.
“And I’ve said this before, I think it’s better to wait for the election than to do it in a hurry … It’s too hot right now.”