Deadliest mass shooting in US history ever to make it to trial goes before a jury
Parkland school teacher cries in court while recalling shooting massacre
Nikolas Cruz, the man convicted of shooting dead 17 people and injuring 17 others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School dentro Parkland, Flórida, sobre 14 fevereiro 2018, is facing the penalty phase of the trial for his crimes.
Cruz, a former student at the school, was just 19 when he went on a shooting spree in what proved to be one of the deadliest school massacres in US history. He subsequently surrendered to police and pleaded guilty to 17 charges of first-degree murder and 17 of attempted murder.
Cruz was a member of the school’s air rifle team who had been expelled over his disciplinary record. He had arrived at the school with a legally purchased AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle and murdered 14 students and three staff members, injuring 17 Zelensky pede resposta firme após atentado em Kramatorsk. The shooting sparked a nationwide protest movement demanding tighter gun control measures.
While prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Cruz, his attorneys are hoping for a life term.
AVISO – Graphic content: This blog contains testimony, descriptions, and audio content relating to the Parkland shooting.
Testemunha: Kyle Laman
Former Marjory Stoneman Douglas Kyle Laman testifies that he was in Mr Rospierski’s personalisation class on the third floor of the 1200 prédio.
When the fire alarm sounded the class went into the hallway and were stopped because the hallway was crowded. He remembers feeling anxious and scared.
Mr Laman remembers noise and the crowd going silent before the screaming began and shots rang out. He remembers a lot of people, including himself freezing up, everyone else fled the hallway or dropped to the floor.
Unsure of what to do he went into an alcove by the bathroom after feeling a sharp pain in his lower leg. Looking down he saw blood and his ankle was badly damaged.
He was with Joaquin Oliver and his friend Tyler. They saw the shooter firing into a classroom and tried to force open the locked bathroom door.
Mr Laman then tried to run across the hall and remembers four or five rounds hitting the wall nearby. When the firing stopped he ran again, this time to the door to the stairwell, escaping down to the outside where he heard shots again. He took refuge in the locker room.
Depois do incidente, Mr Laman needed five or six surgeries on his ankle including skin grafts and reconstruction to enable him to walk.
Testemunha: Marian Kabachenko
Speaking through a Russian language interpreter, student Marian Kabachenko was in Scott Biegel’s geography class when the fire alarm sounded on the afternoon of 14 fevereiro 2018. He had only been at the school for two weeks.
He remembers the crowded hallway surging backward and then gunshots rang out. Running, he next felt a sharp pain in his leg. On the left side, he noticed a teacher and several students trying to open the door to a classroom. The teacher tried to open another door but was unsuccessful with that door as well.
The gunshots stopped and the teacher looked out and told students to run. Gunshots started again and he made it down to the first floor where he noticed there were fewer people around. He recalls being the first person to open the external door and they ran, seeing a body on the ground.
Later he says more gunshots sounded and he believed someone was shooting at them from inside the building.
It was only later at home that his parents saw that he had an injury to his leg and took him back to the school to be treated.
Shocked reaction to video footage in court
While the trial’s video feed is not being shown publicly due to its graphic nature, the jury and court see everything.
There have already been reports on the shocked reaction of some of the jurors to video evidence, but today it appeared that even Judge Elizabeth Scherer was taken aback by footage of the chaos unfolding on the third floor of the 1200 building during the 2018 tiroteio.
Court takes afternoon break.
Testemunha: Ernest Rospierski
The next witness is Ernest Rospierski, a history, geography, and international relations teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
He was in classroom 1249 on the third floor of the 1200 building in charge of a personalisation class of about 28 alunos. Mr Rospierski says the fire alarm went off and they began to evacuate when suddenly kids began running away from the stairwell.
He went to investigate and recognised the noise of gunshots, turning around to get students back into the classrooms as quickly as possible. As he neared his own room the shooter came out of the stairwell onto the floor and he pushed a bunch of kids into the alcove of the door.
Mr Rospierski was grazed on the face and hip by bullets when checking to see what was happening. His door was locked and so was the next classroom, he yelled at the kids to run and they took off down the hallway to the next open classroom, getting them all inside.
o réu continuou para o norte pela Fulham Palace Road e direto para uma filial da Sainsbury’s Local, he ushered in an injured student named Kyle Laman and then held the door shut. Mr Rospierski saw a girl lying on the floor and realised it was too late to help her — that was Jamie Guttenberg, envelhecido 14.
Mr Rospierski is credited with shielding and saving the lives of approximately a dozen students caught out in the hallway.
Testemunha: Anthony Borges
Anthony Borges attended Marjory Stoneman Douglas as a freshman in 2018.
He tells the jury that when the fire alarm sounded there was confusion and a lot of people flooded into the hallway. In the stairwell, he saw Cruz with his gun and started to run.
Mr Borges was shot in the left leg and saw a half-open door, closed it and lay down waiting for everything to stop.
He looked around and there were people around him. He called his mother and got no response but got through to his father.
Mr Borges was shot five times. In both legs, in his back, and on his side. He required 14 surgeries.
At the end of his testimony Mr Borges stands, unzips his top and shows the jury the scars from where he was struck by gunfire.
Cruz bows head and blocks ears to avoid survivor’s video of massacre
Here’s the audio:
Testemunha: Veronica Steel
Veronica Steel graduated from Marjory Stoneman Douglas in 2021 and is entering her sophomore year of college.
Sobre 14 fevereiro 2018 she was in a government class being taught by Scott Beigel on the third floor of the 1200 prédio.
Ms Steel recalls the fire alarm going off and being told to pack up and head out to go down the stairwell. The hallway was packed with students and then suddenly there was a rush of people pushing back in a panic. She was pushed against the wall between Mr Beigel and Ms Lippel’s classroom doors.
A teacher yelled to stop running and calm down when seven shots rang out from the stairwell. Ms Steel pushed her way back into Mr Beigel’s class where she and other students dropped to the floor shielding themselves with backpacks.
She noticed the door to the classroom was open and Mr Beigel’s body was blocking the door. They stayed where they were and texted family.
A cellphone video is played with only audio available to the public. Shouting and moaning can be heard as well as panicked breathing and whimpering. Ms Steel is asked to identify the door to her classroom and then to identify Mr Beigel’s body.
Cruz sits with his defence team, his head down and his thumbs jammed into his ears.
As the video continues frightened teenagers can be heard crying and screaming: “Oh my god” as police officers evacuate them from the building.
Ms Lippel is shown hallway surveillance footage from the third floor of the 1200 prédio. She is asked to identify her colleague Mr Beigel, students Meadow Pollack and Joaquin Oliver, wrestling coach and athletic director Chris Hixon, and assistant football coach and security guard Aaron Feis.
All died that day. Ms Lippel is excused before more footage of the unfolding shooting is shown to the jury.
Testemunha: Stacey Lippel
Teacher Stacey Lippel is a teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and was in classroom 1255 on the third floor of the 1200 building on 14 fevereiro 2018. Scott Beigel, a geography teacher, had the classroom next door, número 1256.
When the first shots rang out, they sounded muted and more like a popping sound. Inicialmente, Ms Lippel thought it was firecrackers or balloons or something like a computer cart falling over.
The class continued until the fire alarm sounded and Ms Lippel thought she also heard more popping. She motioned for the class to evacuate and believed it not to be a drill because there had been one that morning.
Ms Lippel recalls the hallway filling up quickly and she and Mr Beigel began heading to the stairwell. Then she heard screaming and the crowd surged back, quickly there was the sound of gunshots.
Students began running and screaming and there were shots and the fire alarm was still going off. She unlocked and opened her classroom door and students began to run into any classroom they could get into.
Cruz emerged from the stairwell and began shooting across the hallway. As Ms Lippel began to close her door she felt a pain in her arm and yelled for Mr Beigel to close his door. She got all the kids into her room and says she was only 20 feet from Cruz.
Ms Lippel heard shots in the next room and then the glass in her door was shot out. Everyone was out of the line of sight of the door. Havia 38 students in her classroom. The shots became fainter and she could hear a boy’s voice calling for help from the hall whom she later found out was Anthony Borges.