British teenager locked in cupboard during Florida school shooting

A British teenager who was caught up in the Florida high school shooting which claimed the lives of 17 fellow pupils has spoken of how he was locked in a cupboard during the rampage.

Lewis Mizen, 17, is originally from Coventry and now studies at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where Wednesday's shooting took place.

Suspect Nikolas Cruz, described as a troubled teenager by investigators, opened fire with an AR-15 rifle after setting off a fire alarm.

Students hold their hands in the air as they are evacuated by police from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (Mike Stocker/AP)
Students hold their hands in the air as they are evacuated by police from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (Mike Stocker/AP)

Mr Mizen told BBC Breakfast: "The fire drill had just been pulled, I was with my friends and grabbed my backpack and was walking down the stairs when an administrator started screaming at us 'Code red, code red' which meant there was an active shooter.

"We all thought it was a drill ... when we first got back into the classroom, we all hid under the desks and were checking out phones and texting our friends asking them what was going on because it seemed strange to have two drills in one day.

"Then when we got confirmation that there was a situation, our teacher moved us into the closet. There was maybe 20 of us crammed in a closet and we were in there for one-and-a-half hours before the Army Reserves came to get us out."

People light candles at the start of a candlelight vigil for the victims of the Wednesday shooting (Gerald Herbert/AP)
People light candles at the start of a candlelight vigil for the victims of the Wednesday shooting (Gerald Herbert/AP)

Speaking about the suspected gunman, he added: "Out of all the things that have happened on Wednesday, his name is the one that is the most worthless.

"Seventeen people have lost their live, 17 bright futures, but it's his name that is in the papers, it's his name everyone is talking about and that's the saddest part because he doesn't deserve any of it."

School shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz appeared before court on Thursday (Susan Stocker/AP)
School shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz appeared before court on Thursday (Susan Stocker/AP)

Lewis's father David told the programme the experience of watching the drama unfold on television without being able to contact his son - after he had lost reception in the cupboard - was "just unbelievably terrifying".

He added: "I think our confusion here - which I think is shared by the majority of Americans is that ok, if they need a handgun to protect whatever, then ok, if that's in their constitution, I understand.

"But nobody would agree that someone buying an assault weapon, a weapon of war, let alone a disturbed 19-year-old... no-one can explain to me how that makes sense at all."

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