Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel revealed in a news conference on Thursday that there was a security guard on duty at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School when Wednesday's school shooting took place in Parkland, Florida.
However the guard, referred to as "school resource deputy," never encountered 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz when he opened fire with an AR-15 rifle inside the building.
"He was on campus, and he was armed," Israel said in the press conference.
Israel claimed that the high school's grounds are approximately 45 acres.
According to the Broward Sheriff County Office, Cruz arrived at the school via an Uber with his semi-automatic rifle and a backpack filled with additional ammunition at around 2:30 p.m. ET. Just 10 minutes before dismissal, he pulled the school's fire alarm, prompting roughly 3,000 students to begin moving out of their classrooms, where Cruz began firing.
He killed 14 students and three teachers, then ditched his rifle and vest and escaped the school building in the crowd of panicked students.
The police found Cruz at approximately 4:15 p.m., where he was arrested "without incident." He later confessed to his crimes during the initial interrogation and was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder on Thursday. According to a report on Friday, he plans on pleading guilty to all 17 charges.
"It's to avoid the unnecessary arduous long painful traumatic reenactment of something that is so horrific the families and the community should not have to relive," Broward County public defender Howard Finkelstein told CNN. "Everybody knows who committed the crime and that the only question is does he live or does he die."
Public defender Melisa McNeill described Cruz as a "broken human being" on Thursday.
"He's sad. He's mournful. He's remorseful. He is fully aware of what is going on, and he's just a broken human being," she said.
Cruz was reportedly already on the radars of local law enforcement and the FBI, and his neighbors were unsurprised that he would commit such a violent act.
"He was in our backyard one time, and our back neighbors have chickens, and he was, like, shooting at them with, like, a pellet gun or something weird," neighbor Brody Speno said. "And another incident is, I was next door with my neighbors, when I was younger…playing with them, and he came over uninvited, and we were nice about it because we felt bad for him, because he’s a little weird and we wanted to be friendly with him. And he, like, cornered a squirrel and was pegging rocks at it, like, trying to kill it. It was just weird that a kid that young was, like, murdering an animal. Not surprised that it was him."