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Suspect in Florida school shooting confessed to shooting, will be held without bond

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PARKLAND, Fla. — The suspect in a Florida high school shooting who killed 17 people confessed to the shooting on Thursday, according to authorities.

The suspect, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, also made his first court appearance. He will be held without bond on 17 counts of premeditated murder.

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said the suspect fired into five classrooms before dropping his rifle and fleeing on foot.

Cruz fired into three rooms on the second floor of the school in Parkland, then went back and fired again into two of those rooms, Israel said.

He said Cruz fired into one other room on that floor before moving to the third floor and shooting one person in a classroom there.

Israel said the Cruz then dropped his rifle and backpack containing extra ammunition and ran out of the school. As he crossed fields, he tried to blend in with fleeing students.

Israel said Cruz stopped at fast food restaurants after the attack. He then headed to a Walmart and bought a drink at a Subway restaurant before walking to a McDonald’s.

Israel said Cruz was confronted by a police officer and taken into custody about 40 minutes after leaving the McDonald’s.

According to a police report, Cruz told interrogating officers that he “began shooting students that he saw in the hallways and on school grounds” on Wednesday afternoon.

The report adds that Cruz told officers he “brought additional loaded magazines to the school campus and kept them hidden in a backpack until he got on campus to begin his assault.”

Cruz told investigators that as students began to flee, he decided to discard his AR-15 rifle and a vest he was wearing so he could blend in with the crowd. Police recovered the rifle and the vest.

The police report adds that Cruz purchased the rifle in February 2017, but does not say where it was purchased.