'I just started running': Students describe panic as high school shooter kills 17 in Florida

Students have described running for their lives after a teenage gunman opened fire at a Florida high school, killing 17.

The suspect, 19-year-old ex-student Nikolas Cruz, was detained shortly after the Valentine’s Day rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Students and teenagers were told to barricade themselves in classrooms, while others ran outside and jumped a fence around the school grounds after hearing a round of shots.

11th grade student Victoria Adams said: “I just hear boom, boom, boom and I was just like what the heck was that?  That can’t be anything other than a gunshot.  So, I started running. I am not about to be shot. 

She said everyone was trying to climb the same fence but there wasn’t enough space.

“People were pulling me down, like scratches on me,” she added. “But I hopped the fence, I just started running toward the shopping centre over there.”

The Broward County Sheriff’s Department said “at least 14 victims” from the shooting had been taken to area hospitals, but it was not immediately clear how many of those had died from their injuries.

Broward Country Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said there were “numerous fatalities”.

Another student Ryan Silvera said: “I was coming from lunch and I was in the classroom sitting down and I heard pop, pop, pop and the moment I heard pop, I cleared it.

“I left, I was not going to deal with that… They all made us run to Westglades and they were prepared, we have drills for that right? So, we all were at Westglades, we hopped the fence.  I left. I’m gone.”

Students were marched out of the school while police searched for the attacker (Getty Images)

The violence erupted shortly before dismissal at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, about 45 miles (72 km) north of Miami.

Live television footage showed students streaming out of the building as dozens of police and emergency services personnel swarmed the area.

The suspect is detained off the school grounds (REUTERS)

A former student who was at the school visiting a teacher said: “Kids were freaking out, some kids froze.  Some kids were on their phones, a lot were on their phones just trying to Snapchat everything, because they thought it was a joke and it wasn’t.”

She added: “There was kids freaking out, students freaking out.”

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