More than 10,000 people packed the Parkland Amphitheater grounds at sunset on Feb. 15 to remember the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School just the day before.
- Hundreds attend vigil for Parkland shooting victims
- President Donald Trump says administration will tackle mental illness
- White nationalist group claims Nikolas Cruz was a member
- INTERACTIVE TIMELINE: ▼ How the tragedy unfolded ▼
The sea of people stretched far from the stage, members of the community grieving and trying to begin to heal.
Candles were lit, prayers said and words of encouragement shared, along with the promise of long standing support for the grieving families.
"We thank you for being here and supporting the families that lost loved ones," Parkland Mayor Christine Hunschofsky said, as she addressed the crowd.
Members of that crowd poured out their grief for the 17 students and teachers lost just the day before.
A normal day of school, shattered by violence in a place that's expected to be safe.
A sea of candles lit this night, trying to shine light on this community's darkest day.
"This makes no sense," said Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter, Jaime Guttenberg, 14, was among those lives lost. "My girl, my 14 year old baby."
Guttenberg stood before the massive crowd, somehow drawing the strength to talk about Jamie.
"I sent her to school yesterday," he said holding back tears. "She was supposed to be safe."
Jamie's name was read along with the 16 others who were killed when the gunman stormed into the school.
"Parents, love your kids, hold your kids, kiss your kids, and don't ever miss the chance to tell them how much you love them," pleaded Guttenberg.
Lives changed forever
Earlier in the day, not far away, another vigil brought hundreds together to pray and reflect, including students who hadn't seen one another since the shooting that changed their community forever.
Tears were shed, heads hung in sorrow and hands were gripped tightly in support. Prayers and songs were said, including for Nikolas Cruz, the lone gunman accused of the horrific spree.
"It's just a good reminder that I still have these guys with me, and I'm very thankful for them," Douglas High sophomore Patrick Bolger said.
Less than a day after a gunman shot up their school, best friends Bolger and Dylan O'Neill were stuck together like glue, arms around one another.
Bolger said he thought long and hard about coming to the Church United vigil.
"I'm really glad I did, because I saw all my friends, and him (O'Neill), who I haven't seen since then," Bolger said.
O'Neill recalled a teacher yelling "code red" repeatedly as gunfire erupted near the end of the school day.
Both were separated as the gunman ravaged through the school. Bolger, along with hundreds of fellow students urged to go to the auditorium.
"I grabbed a couple of my friends and I put them in the teachers' lounge," O'Neill said.
Bolger said his father is a member of a local SWAT team who responded to the school and found him.
"Just seeing him there was a huge sigh of relief," Bolger said. "I knew I was safe."
Just a day after their school and lives were changed forever, they say the healing has already begun.
"I think it's great how we can regroup as a community so fast, not even 24 hours after the incident," O'Neill said. "We are already all together as one community."
Methodical entry, attempted escape
According to a timeline provided by Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, Cruz was dropped off at the school by an Uber driver at 2:19 p.m. Carrying his weapon in a soft black case, he entered the school grounds and then Building 12 through the structure's east stairwell.
From the building's first floor, Cruz drew the weapon from the case and at 2:21 p.m. began firing into several classrooms. He used the stairwell to move through the building's second and third floors, firing into more classrooms.
Then on the third floor, he abandoned his backpack and the weapon, exited the building, ran across several athletic fields and joined other students running from the campus, attempting to blend in with them as they left the campus.
From there, detectives said Cruz went into a nearby Walmart, purchased a drink from a Subway restaurant inside the Walmart, then walked to a nearby McDonald's.
It was shortly after he left the McDonald's at about 3:45 p.m. that Cruz was found by Coconut Creek Police and taken into custody.
Coconut Creek Police Officer Michael Leonard explained how he captured Cruz.
While looking along various backroads close to the school, Leonard saw a person wearing the same clothes as the shooter, he recalled.
"He was taken into custody without any issues," said Leonard, who would not say whether any weapons were found on Cruz.
Cruz's captured by law enforcement was recorded on video.
Mike Quaranta caught the moment law enforcement officers captured the Stoneman Douglas High School gunman. "With no regard for their own lives, they apprehended and jumped on the suspect not knowing what he would do or had on him," Quaranta said. LATEST: https://t.co/Bcp1cMII1R pic.twitter.com/6W3IzMedYk— News 13 (@MyNews13) February 15, 2018
Hospitals receive, discharge patients
Dr. Evan Boyer, medical director of Broward Health North, said the hospital saw a total of nine patients, including Cruz. Two patients died, three were discharged and three were still in the hospital at the time.
Broward Health Medical Center saw seven patients. Two were in critical condition Thursday morning and five had been discharged.
2017 tip about YouTube video
During a separate news conference Thursday morning, the FBI's Robert F. Lasky, a special agent in charge of the Miami division, said that in 2017, the FBI field office in Jackson, MI received information about a comment on a YouTube channel.
The comment said, "I'm going to be a professional school shooter."
Lasky said agents interviewed the owner of the YouTube channel and attempted to identify the user who made the comment. Despite their efforts, they found nothing to link the user who posted the comment to the state of Florida.
Gov. Rick Scott also said that "our hearts and prayers are with these families" and mentioned that he visited families at hospitals. He stressed that students never have to worry about gun violence.
"The violence has to stop. We cannot lose another child in this country to violence in the school," Scott said.
Broward Sheriff Israel said the Baker Act, which allows for involuntary examination of anyone considered to be a harm to themselves or others, is limited.
He called on lawmakers to let law enforcement be allowed to take a person who makes a comment or posts something graphic on social media deemed dangerous, so officials can take them to a mental health professional.
Broward Superintendent Robert Runcie said that "real funding" for mental health for youth is needed and urged more funds for counselors and other services for schools.
White nationalist group claims Cruz
A leader of a white nationalist militia said Cruz was a member of his group and participated in paramilitary drills in Tallahassee.
Jordan Jereb told The Associated Press that his group, the Republic of Florida, wants Florida to become its own white ethno-state. He said his group holds "spontaneous random demonstrations" and tries not to participate in the modern world.
Jereb said he did not know Cruz personally and that "he acted on his own behalf of what he just did and he's solely responsible for what he just did."
He also said he had "trouble with a girl" and he believed the timing of the attack, carried out on Valentine’s Day, was not a coincidence.
Trump admin to 'tackle' mental health
Addressing "a nation in grief," President Donald Trump said children and teachers became victims of "hatred and evil."
"No child, no teacher, should ever be in danger at an American school," Trump said.
He called the city of Parkland a "great and safe" community and explained how the shooter killed 17 people and wounded at least 14 others.
The president said his administration will work closely with law enforcement as the investigation continues.
He also said his administration will be "tackling" mental health.
"We are committed to working with state and local leaders to help secure our schools and tackle the difficult issue of mental health. Later this month, I will be meeting with the nation’s governors and attorney generals, where making our schools and our children safer will be our top priority. It is not enough to simply take actions to make us feel like we are making a difference. We must actually make that difference," Trump said.
President Trump is scheduled to travel to Florida on Friday. However, his schedule does not currently include a visit to Parkland.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.