FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Academics gave heart-wrenching testimony Wednesday within the penalty trial of Nikolas Cruz, with one recalling how a boy in her Holocaust research class accurately answered a query seconds earlier than he turned one in all 17 folks murdered throughout the college shooter’s rampage 4 years in the past.
Ivy Schamis, then a instructor at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas Excessive College, was main college students via a dialogue in regards to the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany when star swimmer Nick Dworet accurately responded that Adolf Dassler based the Adidas shoe firm. He then added that Dassler’s brother based the rival Puma model.
It was then that they heard the preliminary gunshots within the first-floor hallway of the three-story constructing, and Cruz started firing his semi-automatic rifle via the glass on her classroom door close to the place he entered.
“It was actually seconds later that the barrel of that AR—15 simply ambushed our classroom,” Schamis testified, wiping her eyes with a tissue. “It got here proper via that tumbler panel and was simply taking pictures in all places. It was very loud. Very scary. I stored eager about these youngsters who shouldn’t be experiencing this in any respect.”
She stated the scholars scrambled to search out security behind furnishings, however didn’t panic and acted with bravery and maturity as they waited to be rescued. Three college students have been wounded in her class and two have been killed: Dworet and Helena Ramsay, each 17.
When proven their portraits, she started to weep.
“That’s my woman, Helena Ramsay,” she stated. “Nicholas Dworet, good-looking boy.”
Dworet’s brother Alexander was grazed by a bullet in a classroom throughout the corridor, the place three college students have been killed and a number of other extra wounded.
Cruz, 23, pleaded responsible in October to 17 counts of first-degree homicide for the Feb. 14, 2018, bloodbath. The jury should determine if the previous Stoneman Douglas pupil must be sentenced to dying or life with out parole for the nation’s deadliest mass taking pictures to go earlier than a jury. The trial is anticipated to final via at the least October.
9 different gunmen who killed at the least 17 folks died throughout or instantly after their shootings, both by suicide or police gunfire. The suspect within the 2019 slaying of 23 folks at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, is awaiting trial.
Schamis’ testimony was adopted by that of Ronit Reoven, who was lecturing her superior psychology class about Sigmund Freud when Cruz began firing into her neighboring classroom, additionally via the door’s window.
“There have been a number of gunshots,” she stated. “They have been extremely loud. BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM! I froze for a second and the scholars jumped out of their seats. After all, they have been startled and scared.”
Reoven stated she and the scholars crouched on the ground round her desk and wounded college students have been moaning and crying. She used a blanket that usually coated her espresso machine as a tourniquet to cease the bleeding from a boy’s arm. One other boy used a jacket to stanch the bleeding from a woman’s chest. A lady shot within the knee seemed to be secure. However 16-year-old Carmen Schentrup was mendacity facedown in a pool of blood.
“I knew that she was most likely gone,” Reoven stated.
On the third flooring, Stacey Lippel was educating artistic writing and Ernest Rospierski was supervising examine corridor when Cruz’s pictures on the primary flooring triggered the fireplace alarm. Not realizing a taking pictures was occurring under them, they led their college students into the hallway to evacuate.
That’s when screaming college students started coming again up the stairwell and so they might hear gunshots.
Lippel stated she and the instructor from the neighboring room, Scott Beigel, shortly reopened their doorways and began getting college students again inside. It was then that Cruz emerged from the stairwell, “splaying the rifle backwards and forwards, shot after shot after shot,” she stated. “It by no means stopped.”
Lippel stated she acquired inside her room and closed the door, however Beigel was fatally shot.
Beigel’s pupil, Veronica Metal, testified that his physique stored the door from closing, leaving the scholars within the room fearful Cruz would come inside.
“It was scary. We didn’t know what to do,” she stated.
Rospierski’s head and hip have been grazed by bullets, however he helped college students flee down a stairwell after Cruz handed.
The testimony got here a day after jurors noticed surveillance video exhibiting victims being gunned down at point-blank vary. Cruz additionally killed a few of the wounded by firing on them a second time as they lay on the ground.
When jurors finally get the case, they’ll vote 17 occasions, as soon as for every of the victims, on whether or not to suggest capital punishment.
For every dying sentence, the jury should be unanimous or the sentence for that sufferer is life. The jurors are informed that to vote for dying, the prosecution’s aggravating circumstances for that sufferer should, of their judgment, “outweigh” the protection’s mitigators. A juror can even vote for all times out of mercy for Cruz. Throughout jury choice, the panelists stated beneath oath that they’re able to voting for both sentence.
Story by Terry Spencer. Related Press reporter Freida Frisaro in Miami contributed to this report.