Students are being evacuated from a high school in the US state of Florida after a shooting that has resulted in “numerous” deaths, police said.
The sheriff’s office in Parkland, a town about 50km northwest of Fort Lauderdale, said it was responding to reports of a shooting at a local high school on Wednesday.
Broward County public school Superintendent Robert Runcie told The Associated Press news agency “there are numerous fatalities”.
“It is a horrific situation. It is a horrible day for us,” Runcie said.
Police said the shooter was in custody 4:15pm local time (21:15GMT), but the “scene is still active”.
It was not immediately clear how many people were killed or wounded in the incident at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High Shool.
US Senator Bill Nelson of Florida told MSNBC network, “There are a number of fatalities,” he said, citing a conversation with the superintendent of schools.
The sheriff’s office said at least 14 victims were being transported to hospital.
Law enforcement officers were evacuating sudents “one building at a time”, the local school board said.
Local television reports showed armed officers in the school’s parking lot and students walking out of the buildings with their hands over their heads.
A student told local media he had to wait in a closet while the school was under a “code red” lockdown.
“I was just in disbelief. I was texting my friends and my family,” the student told WPTV-TV, an NBC affiliate in West Palm Beach, Florida, after being evacuated from the school.
“I didn’t believe it was actually happening,” he said.
A spokesperson for the White House said President Donald Trump was made aware of the shooting.
“We are monitoring the situation. Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected,” Lindsay Walters said in a brief statement.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, also said Trump spoke with Florida Governor Rick Scott “and offered federal assistance if needed”.
Just spoke with @POTUS about shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. My thoughts and prayers are with the students, their families and the entire community. We will continue to receive briefings from law enforcement and issue updates.
— Rick Scott (@FLGovScott) February 14, 2018
Al Jazeera’s Andy Gallacher, reporting from Miami, said the school has about 3,000 students.
Nearly 300 school shootings have been reported since 2013 across the United States, said Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, a gun safety advocacy group.
By January 23, 11 school shootings had already taken place so far in 2018, the New York Times reported.