WEST DES MOINES - At least 17 people were killed in shooting Wednesday at a Parkland, Florida, high school.
The shooting happened at the end of the school day and students pulled out their phones to document the horrific incident. After this shooting, three of the eight deadliest mass shootings in modern U.S. history have happened in the last five months.
Police say the alleged shooter was 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz. They say he was a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where the shooting occurred.
Officials say the suspect used a single AR-15, but had several magazines on him to keep reloading his gun. We're not immune here in Central Iowa, something like this can happen to any school at any time.
"I mean it's an emotional situation obviously, but I think we have to stay focused mentally on a situation like that. We're trying to stop a certain threat on a situation like that and if you're not there mentally, then you're not there physically," said West Des Moines Police Sgt. Anthony Giampolo to Local 5.
So far this year there have been three threats of violence. The first on Sunday in Eldora, a student threatened to bring a gun to South Hardin High School. On Monday, Nevada Middle School and High School were evacuated because of a threatening email.
Wednesday morning, Martensdale-St. Marys had a bomb threat. School officials cleared out the school.
"We want to get to an area that may have a threat and lock that down right there so it doesn't get to any other areas in the city. If we have to go to Johnston to help them or if they have to come here to help us, we know how their officers work and they know how we work," said Sgt. Giampolo.
Officials say they are ready for any situation. They held nine days of active shooter training in January to make sure they're ready for anything that might occur.
Local 5 reached out to both the Des Moines and West Des Moines School Districts. They say partnering with their local law enforcement is critical to supporting school safety. At the end of the day the superintendent makes the call on how to respond to threats.
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