Parkland Mayor Speaks About Shooting At Florida High School
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
After a shooting with multiple injuries reported at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, NPR's Ari Shapiro talks with Parkland Mayor Christine Hunschofsky about the latest.
MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:
Now to a story in progress that we are following throughout the show and the evening - the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in the City of Parkland, Fla. That is northwest of Fort Lauderdale. The Broward County Sheriff's Office says there are at least 14 victims. What we do not know is whether those are deaths or injuries or some combination of the two. A suspect is in custody, authorities have confirmed.
And let's bring in the voice of another authority. That's Parkland Mayor Christine Hunschofsky. Mayor Hunschofsky, where are you? Tell me what you can see.
CHRISTINE HUNSCHOFSKY: I'm right in the middle of the area here. I can see all the EMS out here. I heard the police are still inside the school, and they are doing the final sweep now to make sure they got all the students out.
KELLY: That all the students and faculty are out - do you know anything about the suspect at this point, about the shooter?
HUNSCHOFSKY: I do not. I have spent most of my time behind the perimeter, as advised by the first responders here on-site, and I have been speaking to parents and students.
KELLY: OK. And do you know anything about these deaths or injuries or any combination? Can you give us any additional updates?
HUNSCHOFSKY: I have no firsthand confirmation on any of those.
KELLY: What are you hearing from students and parents as you speak to them?
HUNSCHOFSKY: The parents - when I first got here, this was just the beginning of this. Parents were extremely worried, as we could all understand. Thankfully for modern technology and texts, they have heard from their students, and that made them a little more relaxed, although we didn't at that time know whether the suspect was in custody or not.
Once the students were coming out, they were upset. Many were in shock. Some had been near the area where this had happened. But as we can all understand as parents, there was no better relief for these parents than to hug their children and know they were safe.
KELLY: Sure. Tell me about the school. How big is it? What kind of community is it serving?
HUNSCHOFSKY: It's a large school. The schools here in Florida are countywide schools, so the school falls under the Broward County Schools. There are over 3,000 students at the school. It's in a very - we're in a very nice, close-knit community. It's a very safe area. And that's where our location is.
KELLY: Was there anything unusual going on today, anything that might have signaled something like this might be happening?
HUNSCHOFSKY: There were - we were not aware of any signals or anything.
KELLY: What are your main concerns at this point, Mayor?
HUNSCHOFSKY: I'm concerned about the students who were inside. I'm concerned about the families and how they're all affected by this. I must say, we say on a regular basis how grateful we are for our police and our first responders. We have so much gratitude for them today and the bravery they've shown.
KELLY: As you may well know, President Trump has been briefed on this. He's offered any federal assistance you need. Is there anything you need right now that you don't have?
HUNSCHOFSKY: I don't believe there's anything we need right now that we don't have, but I believe in the coming days and weeks, we're going to need a lot of support here to help those who've been affected by this tragedy to help them get through it.
KELLY: And are you in touch with people at the hospitals who will be treating the victims, the injured coming in?
HUNSCHOFSKY: The first responders here have been in touch with them, yes.
KELLY: OK. And what are you hearing from there, from the hospitals?
HUNSCHOFSKY: I have not heard directly from the hospitals. Again, in these kinds of situations, we have the professionals here to do their job. It's our job to stay out of their way and let them do that and support them in any way we can.
KELLY: Mayor Hunschofsky, we very much appreciate your time on a very tense day there.
HUNSCHOFSKY: Thank you very much.
KELLY: That's Parkland Mayor Christine Hunschofsky speaking to us from Parkland, where there was a shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School today, again, in Parkland, Fla., northwest of Fort Lauderdale. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.View this story on npr.org