Florida Will Pay for Funeral Expenses of School Shooting Victims, Attorney General Says

The state of Florida will cover funeral costs for the 17 victims who died in a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said.

"We will pay for the funeral expenses of these poor victims, and do everything we can to help families. The state of Florida — we will pay for counseling. For the surviving victims, we will pay for students who need counseling," Bondi said in a press appearance on Wednesday evening.

The deaths were confirmed by Broward County Sheriff Scott Isreal during a news conference on Wednesday night. "I'm saddened to say that 17 people lost their lives," he said.

As former student and suspected shooter Nikolas Cruz opened fire ahead of school dismissal, twelve people died inside the school, two died outside the school, one died on the road by the school and two more after being taken to a hospital. Local outlet WSVN also reports 12 more people were receiving treatment for injuries related to the mass shooting, which ranks as one of the deadliest in U.S. history.

Cruz was booked into Broward County Jail on Thursday morning on charges of 17 counts of premeditated murder. He is being held without bond.

The 19-year-old, who had been expelled last year for fighting and who had a history of menacing social media posts, returned to his former high school in Parkland, Florida, with a vengeance, opening fire on students who poured into hallways after he triggered fire alarms near the end of the school day.

Among those who have been declared dead are the school's athletic director Chris Hixon, 49, and football coach and school security guard, Aaron Feis. During the spray of gunfire, Feis used his body to shield students from the bullets.

"He selflessly shielded students from the shooter when he was shot. He died a hero and he will forever be in our hearts and memories," the football team's Twitter account read.

As of Isreal's last briefing on Wednesday night, all the victims had not been identified and their next of kin had not been contacted.