Nikolas Cruz Warned Freshman Before Shooting: 'You'd Better Get out of Here'

Before the first shots were fired in Wednesday's Florida school shooting, one freshman claims that suspected gunman Nikolas Cruz told him "things are gonna start getting messy."

Just moments before suspected gunman Nikolas Cruz pulled the fire alarm at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and opened fire with an AR-15, freshman Chris McKenna claims that he came face-to-face with the 19-year-old who was loading the weapon he'd use to take 17 lives, the Sun Sentinel reports.

"'You'd better get out of here," McKenna, who had been walking down the hallway to use the bathroom when he bumped into the gunman, claims Cruz said. "'Things are gonna start getting messy.'"

McKenna says that he then fled out of the building, eventually running into assistant football coach and security guard Aaron Feis.

"I told him I saw a gun," McKenna said. "He said 'let me go check it out.' Then he drove me to the baseball field, dropped me off, and went back to the school. That's the last I saw of him."

Feis would lose his life using his body to shield students fleeing the building after Cruz pulled a fire alarm and opened fire with the same weapon McKenna had seen him loading. The shooting, which happened just minutes before afternoon dismissal, claimed the lives of 17 students and adults and injured 14.

Cruz managed to escape the scene by concealing "himself in the crowd and was among those running out of the school." Investigators combed through security footage at the school in order to identify Cruz, which led to his arrest "in a nearby neighborhood in Coral Springs" by Coconut Creek PD within two hours of the shooting.

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Cruz was taken into custody without incident and transported to a local hospital for exhibiting labored breathing. Upon being released back into police custody, he was taken to a police station for questioning.

Cruz has since been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.