Florida shooter formally charged with 17 counts of murder
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — The Latest on a shooting at a Florida high school (all times local):

1:45 p.m.

Florida school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz has been formally charged with 17 counts of first-degree murder, which could mean a death sentence if he's convicted.

A grand jury in Fort Lauderdale returned the indictment Wednesday against the 19-year-old Cruz for the Valentine's Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland in which 17 people died and 16 were wounded.

The indictment also charges Cruz with 17 counts of attempted murder.

Cruz's public defender has said he'll plead guilty if prosecutors take the death penalty off the table, which would mean a life prison sentence. The Broward County state attorney hasn't announced a decision on the death penalty.


12:45 p.m.

The head of Florida's law-enforcement agency says subpoenas are being prepared in an investigation into the police response to a mass shooting at a high school.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Rick Swearingen said Wednesday that the agency will eventually turn over its findings to the Broward County prosecutor.

He said his investigators have begun to prepare subpoenas and will start reviewing documents before interviewing the law enforcement agencies that responded to the Feb. 14 shooting that killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

Swearingen said the investigation won't be rushed.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott last month ordered FDLE to investigate the response to the shooting amid an outcry from some Republican legislators who wanted the governor to suspend Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel.


12:45 p.m.

Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat made a surprise appearance at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday morning, meeting with students and teachers and posing for photos.

Wade told the students that they were inspiring to him. He punctuated his remarks with "MSD Strong all the way" — which was met with a loud roar.

Wade has worn the name of shooting victim Joaquin Oliver on his game sneakers for the past several Heat contests. Oliver was buried in a Wade jersey, and Wade met privately with the boy's parents last weekend to thank them and ask how he can help going forward.


11:25 a.m.

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos says she's interested in hearing suggestions to improve school safety from students at a Florida high school where 17 people were killed in a mass shooting.

DeVos visited Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Wednesday.

She said some students told her their healing process after the Feb. 14 shooting was a "day-to-day situation." She said their faces lit up when they talked about therapy dogs that have been brought to campus to help them.

After meeting with students, DeVos told reporters that arming some teachers should be considered an option but not a requirement.

As a model, she cited a program in Florida's Polk County where teachers or other employees at two private universities have trained with the sheriff's office so they can carry concealed weapons on campus.


10:30 a.m.

Jail records show the 19-year-old accused of killing 17 people at a Florida high school is being held in solitary confinement.

The Broward Sheriff's Office has released a report of officers' observations of Nikolas Cruz to local news stations.

The observations start Feb. 17 and end Feb. 24. Officers described Cruz as being cooperative but avoiding eye contact. They said he "often sits with a blank stare."

The report said Cruz appeared to laugh and exhibited "awkward" behavior during and after a visit with an attorney. He also has had one "family visit."

The report said Cruz also requested a Bible to read in his single-person cell in the infirmary.

Cruz has been jailed since he was arrested shortly after the Feb. 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.


10:30 a.m.

A student-athlete at the Florida high school where a gunman killed 17 people has committed to play football for a Massachusetts college because of the bond he formed with the college's coaches during the shooting.

Tyler Goodman is a quarterback at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. He confirmed to WFXT-TV that he has committed to Nichols College, an NCAA Division III school in Dudley, Massachusetts.

Goodman says Nichols wasn't one of his top choices. But during the Feb. 14 shooting, he hid in a room with Nichols' Dean of Admissions Paul Brower and Assistant Football Coach St. Clair Ryan.

Goodman says they "went into father mode and protected us," and "we kind of formed a bond."

He hopes to wear No. 17 in college, a tribute to the 17 victims.


10:10 a.m.

The couple who provided a home to the Florida school shooting suspect before the Valentine's Day massacre has testified before a grand jury considering formal charges in the case.

James and Kimberly Snead each spent about half an hour in closed-door testimony Wednesday before the panel. Their attorney Jim Lewis says they answered all questions and were fully cooperative.

Lewis says the couple was shocked by what happened and did not foresee 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz doing something like the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that killed 17 people and wounded 16.

The Sneads took in Cruz after he briefly lived with a family friend following the death of his mother in November.

Cruz is charged with 17 counts of murder and could face the death penalty.


7:40 a.m.

A grand jury considering charges against the 19-year-old suspected of killing 17 people at a Florida high school is expected to hear from the family he'd been living with after his mother died late last year.

Nikolas Cruz told investigators he took an AR-15 rifle to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Valentine's Day and started shooting into classrooms. Grand jurors are hearing testimony from witnesses before returning a formal indictment against Cruz.

The family he was living with is expected to testify Wednesday.

Meanwhile, a second student injured in the shooting, has filed a letter of intent to sue the Broward Sheriff's Office, the school system and others.

In Tallahassee, the Florida House is expected to vote on gun legislation stemming from the school shooting.

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