Florida Shooting Update

Feb 17, 2018
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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

It's been just four days since a gunman walked into a high school in Parkland, Fla., where he killed 17 students and staff and wounded others. Family began - families began their funerals yesterday, on the same day the FBI revealed that it failed to follow through on a tip that the 19-year-old charged with the murders was plotting an attack. And last night, President Trump traveled to visit some of the victims still in the hospital. NPR's Cheryl Corley is in Florida. Cheryl, thanks for being with us.

CHERYL CORLEY, BYLINE: Quite welcome, Scott.

SIMON: What are people feeling there?

CORLEY: Well, I say the atmosphere, Scott, here is a combination of grace and fury. And that's how people are coping. You know, hundreds came to pay tribute to two students yesterday. And they were remembering all the beautiful attributes of the people who died, the two students - the funerals there. And then there's clearly the fury. One student's father was trying to figure out how to cope with the nightmare, really bearing his child. He yelled as he talked about the shooter saying, he killed my kid. And outside the funeral for another student, there was one woman, Nicole Cook, who really expressed the grief and anger that's so much a part of what's happening here.

NICOLE COOK: We have a whole bunch of girls who were right next to the girl who died. They were in the same classroom. They were shot together. This is completely avoidable. And maybe in three weeks or four weeks, when all this dies down, and everybody moves on, maybe then we can come back and tell the story, so we can keep momentum about what's really important in this country.

CORLEY: And she said what's really important is action on gun control, and a lot of people here are saying that's something that they want from President Trump.

SIMON: And the president came to town last night. I did not notice that he talked about any kind of gun reforms, did he?

CORLEY: No, he did not at all. What he did do was he and the first lady visited the hospital. He talked to some of the victims who survived the attack. Then he greeted the medical staff, thanked the doctors and nurses, first responders. Then he met with members of the Broward County Sheriff's Office, local law enforcement, including the officer from the Coconut Creek police that - who is recognized for apprehending the shooter - Mike Leonard.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: What a job you've done. And the doctors did a great job over the - a combination which is incredible. And I hope you're getting your credit for it because, believe me, you deserve it. The job you've done is unparalleled.

CORLEY: And although the president did not talk about guns, as I said, there's been a constant call for action here, especially from young people who have been speaking out at vigils.

SIMON: There's been this extraordinary revelation, too, Cheryl, that the FBI failed to investigate a warning about the shooter that perhaps might have prevented this from happening at all. What's been the reaction and the fallout?

CORLEY: Well, in that statement, yes, the FBI said they contacted - someone contacted the public input line and said that Nikolas Cruz had this desire to kill - didn't take action, didn't forward that information to the FBI's field office in Miami. That's really enraged some people here. They've been speaking out on social media. Florida Governor Rick Scott has called for the FBI director to step down. And Attorney General Sessions has really also heavily criticized the FBI, too.

SIMON: And there are more funerals set this week - for this weekend, I gather.

CORLEY: Yes, more funerals, a rally today also for gun safety legislation in Fort Lauderdale and a couple of gun shows today and tomorrow, as well, in the region.

SIMON: A couple of gun shows in the area.

CORLEY: Yes.

SIMON: They haven't been canceled?

CORLEY: Have not been canceled. They said that they operate these shows and set them up on a monthly basis.

SIMON: NPR's Cheryl Corley, thanks so much.

CORLEY: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.