(CNN)–A former student armed with a rifle stalked the halls of a Florida school, breaking windows and shooting terrified students in a massacre that left 17 people dead Wednesday, authorities said.
The suspect, Nikolas Cruz, 19, had once been expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School over disciplinary problems, Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said, without providing specifics.
Cruz allegedly turned on the fire alarm, sending many students running outside, where he fired shot after shot before following people inside the building, officials said.
There, he roamed the halls he knew so well, allegedly targeting those huddled in classrooms.
Former classmates said they were not surprised. He loved showing off guns, student Eddie Bonilla told CNN affiliate WFOR.
“We actually, a lot of kids threw jokes around Iike that, saying that he’s the one to shoot up the school, but it turns out everyone predicted it. It’s crazy,” Bonilla recalled.
Alex Azar also said he remembered Cruz.
“He always seemed like the unstable type, the type who would do this sort of thing,” Azar told WFOR. “He was always in trouble. … He had that look to him, kind of sinister.”
Cruz is believed to have concealed himself among the students as they fled the school, according to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office. Investigators identified him from school security videos and arrested him later in nearby Coral Springs, according to police.
His first court appearance was set for Thursday morning.
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