Florida governor says 'the violence has to stop' following school shooting

President Trump said the Florida school had become the scene of "terrible violence, hatred and evil"

Florida governor says 'the violence has to stop' following school shooting

Florida Gov. Rick Scott gestures as he speaks during a news conference near Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland

The governor of Florida has insisted 'the violence has to stop' after the deadly school shooting in the state yesterday.

17 people were killed in the attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in the city of Parkland.

19-year-old Nikolas Cruz is accused of opening fire at his former school, and has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder. He is due in court later today.

Officials said they would release a list of victims' names shortly, saying all their families had now been informed.

The shooting comes less than two years after the Orlando nightclub shooting in the state in June 2016, which saw 49 people killed.

The latest shooting has reignited the debate about gun control and mental health funding in the US, with Florida officials directly addressing the topics during a press conference on the shooting this afternoon.

Florida governor Rick Scott said he would sit down with state lawmakers next week to make sure schools are safe and to look at ensure "that individuals with mental illness do not touch a gun".

He argued: "We need to have a real conversation so we have public safety for schools in this state.

"The violence has to stop. We cannot lose another child in this country to violence in a school."

"Now is the time to have a real conversation"

Law enforcement officers block off the entrance to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Picture by: Wilfredo Lee/AP/Press Association Images

Speaking during the same press conference, local schools superintendent Robert Runcie said: "I will tell you that students have been reaching out to me, reaching out to staff, probably board members and others, saying that now - now - is the time to have a real conversation on sensible gun control laws in this country.

"Our students are asking for that conversation. I hope we can get it done in this generation, and if we don't they will."

Mr Runcie added: "Something that we can do now, that we can get done in this legislative session, is some real funding for mental health support for our youth, and organisations in our community so we can properly have the right sort of interventions."

Local sheriff Scott Israel observed: "There's going to be a lot of conversations over the next couple of days and weeks - and I'm going to be very animated about what I think this country can do to possibly prevent these tragedies in the future."

He added that those receiving mental health treatment should not be allowed carry a gun, noting: "Those two things don't mix."

"Hatred and evil"

The comments from the local officials came shortly before President Trump addressed the nation, saying he is planning to visit Parkland.

He said the school had become the scene of "terrible violence, hatred and evil".

However, he did not address the subject of gun control during his remarks.

President Trump said: "Our administration is working closely with local authorities to investigate the shooting, and learn everything we can.

"We are committed to working with state and local leaders to help secure our schools and tackle the difficult issue of mental health. Later this month, I will be meeting with the nations governors and attorney generals, where making our schools and our children safer will be our top priority."

Separately, President Trump ordered that the American flag be flown at half-mast on all public buildings until Monday as a mark of respect to the victims of the "terrible act of violence".