August 11, 2022

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Officers describe the horror they noticed after the Parkland capturing

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Cops who stormed into Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas Excessive Faculty minutes later Nicholas Cruz lethal shot 17 in certainly one of its buildings, jurors on Friday described the horrific scene they encountered.

Two Coral Springs law enforcement officials and a Broward County sheriff’s deputy reported discovering lifeless, dying and wounded college students and employees within the three-story classroom the place Cruz massacred 14 college students and three employees and 17 others with an AR-15 half-plane wounded. computerized rifle on February 14, 2018.

“I noticed a lifeless youngster on the bottom to the left and there was smoke and dirt within the air,” Broward Sgt. Richard Van Der Eems stated within the flat, skilled tone utilized by all officers. Involved that the gunman may nonetheless be contained in the constructing, he stated he aimed his gun to supply cowl whereas different officers led college students and lecturers out of the constructing and carried the wounded out. Little did they know that Cruz had fled the constructing about three minutes earlier.


Van Der Eems and different officers entered the constructing instantly upon arrival, about 10 minutes after the capturing started. Then-Deputy Broward Scot Peterson, the college’s security officer, faces expenses of kid neglect for staying exterior whereas Cruz continued capturing. He has pleaded not responsible and is scheduled to seem in court docket early subsequent 12 months. Different MPs have been fined for not getting into the constructing once they arrived.

The police in Uvalde, Texas, are being criticized for ready greater than an hour earlier than confronting a gunman who killed 19 college students and two lecturers at an elementary faculty in Could.

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Coral Springs captain Nicholas Mazzei stated when he ran to the constructing he discovered the physique of assistant soccer coach Aaron Feis, who was shot attempting to cease Cruz.

“I checked him for very important indicators and located that he handed away,” Mazzei stated. He stated he then went inside and located athletic director Christopher Hixon, who later died from wounds sustained within the confrontation with Cruz. He stated they talked, however prosecutors didn’t ask what was stated.


Coral Springs Detective David Alfin stated he climbed the steps to the third flooring touchdown, the place he discovered Cruz’s rifle and vest subsequent to the physique of 14-year-old Jaime Guttenberg.

“I checked her very important indicators for respiration and pulse and located none,” he stated, including that he checked two or thrice. “We paused there for a second and…heard a voice from the hallway.”

He, Van Der Eems and others went to the third flooring the place they discovered extra our bodies and a badly wounded Anthony Borges mendacity in the midst of the hallway, elevating his hand and attempting to scream to get their consideration.

Officers have been proven pictures of the victims they noticed, however these weren’t instantly shared with the jury.

The Friday session ends a Week of usually emotional testimonies cowl the assault and Cruz’s escape try.


Cruz, 23, pleaded responsible in October to 17 counts of first-degree homicide. All of the jury has to do is resolve whether or not to condemn him to dying or life with out parole for the nation’s deadliest mass capturing to face a jury.

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9 different gunmen, killing at the least 17 folks, died throughout or instantly after their firing, both by suicide or by police gunfire. The suspect in 2019 killing of 23 folks at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas ready for the method.

As a jury After they get the case, most likely in October or November, they’ll vote 17 occasions, as soon as for every of the victims, on whether or not to suggest the dying penalty.


For any sentence of dying, the jury have to be unanimous or the sentence for that sufferer is life imprisonment. The jury is instructed that so as to vote for dying, the prosecution’s aggravating circumstances for that sufferer should, of their opinion, “outweigh” the protection’s mitigations. A jury also can vote for Cruz out of grace for all times. Throughout jury choice, the panelists declared underneath oath that they have been capable of vote for both sentence.


Related Press reporter Freida Frisaro in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., contributed to this report.

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