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WATCH: Stoneman Douglas principal shares emotional message after shooting

PARKLAND, FL (AP/WFLA) - The principal of the Florida high school where a gunman killed 17 people last week addressed the community in an emotional video message.

The video posted Sunday showed an emotional Ty Thompson, who is principal at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

"On Wednesday we experienced an unthinkable act of violence," he said. "My heart is breaking for the victims' families and our entire Stoneman Douglas community."

"I really need to thank the students and the staff for their heroic efforts on Wednesday, putting in place our procedural protocols that we practice quite regularly," he adds. "I truly, truly believe that lives were saved due to those protocols."

Thompson went on to thank first responders, saying he has "never seen such a force of power get here in such a short amount of time."

He also thanked the thousands of people around the world that have reached out to the school in emails and on social media.

"I've received some media inquiries and right now my number one job is to be here for my staff, my students and our community in this time of need," he said.

"We lost 17 lives on Valentine's Day. That's supposed to be the international day of love. We're going to take the love that we got lost on Wednesday and we're going to spread that over the next days, weeks, months and maybe even years," Thompson emotionally said in the video. "The love you shared and continue to share is going to help us get through these trying times."

He said he promises to love the staff, students and their families over the difficult weeks to come.

"Eagles, I promise you I will hug each and every one of you as many times as you need and I will hold you as long as you need me to, for all 33-hundred of you and your families. And we will get through this together," he said. "Our community is strong, our students are strong, we will persevere in these trying times."

Nineteen-year-old Nikolas Cruz is facing 17 counts of murder in the Wednesday afternoon shooting.


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