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Florida Rep. Ted Deutch Reacts To High School Shooting In His District


And let's return to our top story today - multiple fatalities in a school shooting in Florida this afternoon. The school is Marjory Stoneman Douglas High. It is in Parkland. That is northwest of Fort Lauderdale.

Congressman Ted Deutch, a Democrat, represents the area, and we got hold of him here in Washington. He says he was at a House hearing when a staffer sent him a text about the shooting. Her daughter was inside the school.

TED DEUTCH: It certainly held all of our attention immediately, and it's just been a terrible time since. We've spoken with the sheriff and the school superintendent and the mayor and some other electeds. And this is - it's just a horrific thing to happen anywhere, and this is a - it's a wonderful school with great kids and incredible teachers. I was there just a couple weeks ago.

KELLY: Before - I want to ask what you're hearing from the sheriff and mayor and others. But first, may I just ask? That the child that you got a text about - are they OK? Do you know?

DEUTCH: She's OK. She was in - you know, on lockdown in the band room, and apparently they were - the band room was right near where the shooter was. But they stayed inside, and thank God they stayed safe. And she's back with her family.

KELLY: You said that you spoke to the sheriff of Broward County today. What are you hearing from them about how first responders are handling this?

DEUTCH: Well, this is obviously a terrible tragedy. There were a number of people who were shot. It's unclear how many fatalities at this point, but lots of people have been taken to local hospitals. Fortunately everyone responded quickly and worked to get the school under control. But ultimately, as the sheriff told me, what happened in the school today is really terrible. And it's very - a very grim day.

KELLY: Has anything like this happened in Parkland before?

DEUTCH: No, no, certainly not as far as I know. I don't even think anything like this has happened in Broward County before. This is a kind of - this is a model school.

KELLY: You know this school well.

DEUTCH: I know the school well. I was just there a couple of weeks ago. I visit fairly regularly. Last time I was there a few weeks ago, we had a great discussion with a lot of the seniors about what they were going to do when they graduated and how they could continue to make a difference in their communities.

And it's so awful and numbing to think about those kids - what they endured today and that there were kids who were shot and it looks like those who lost their life. And despite the fact that we see these images of kids leaving schools with their hands in the air and police going into the schools to secure them when there's a shooting, when this happens in a place that you know with people you know, it really hits home. And it needs to be that way for all of us every time something like this happens.

KELLY: What was security like at the high school? I mean, you were just there. Is - like, high schools across the country - I'm sure they've been doing lockdown drills and preparing for a day like this that you hope will never come.

DEUTCH: Sure. The school district, Broward School District - I know they prepare for active shooters. When I was recently there - I'm the member of Congress for the area, and I wasn't going to be let in without first going through the front desk and making sure that I signed in and then follow the security protocols. So they take these issues very, very seriously. It's just sometimes obviously it's impossible to prevent something like this from happening.

We don't know details about who the shooter was, what the background is. There's time to figure all of that out, and we're going to need to. And then we're going to have - I mean, I can tell you we're going to have a moment of silence in the House, I suppose. And my colleagues have been terrific about reaching out and offering condolences. But nobody should have to go through this ever. And it happens time and time and time again. And if there is anything we can do to prevent one of these from happening in your community, then, by God, we have to.

KELLY: Congressman Deutch, thanks for speaking with us.

DEUTCH: Thank you very much.

KELLY: That's Congressman Ted Deutch, Democrat of Florida. He represents the district where the school shooting unfolded today. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.