Harrowing Video, Testimony Introduced in Cruz Trial

Survivor testifies that he tried to believe mass shooting wasn't real
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 19, 2022 7:41 PM CDT
Harrowing Video, Testimony Introduced in Cruz Trial
Former Marjory Stoneman Douglas student Alexander Dworet describes the gunshot injuries he sustained to the back of his head.   (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun Sentinel via AP, Pool)

Jurors tasked with deciding whether Nikolas Cruz should get the death penalty heard harrowing testimony and viewed a graphic video Tuesday. The video—shown to jurors, and later, reporters, but not the gallery—shows Cruz stalking through a classroom building at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, firing at everybody in sight, the AP reports. The video, compiled from school security cameras, shows that Cruz shot many of his victims at point-blank range and returned to some wounded victims to shoot them again and make sure they were dead.

The penalty trial, the deadliest mass shooting ever to reach a jury in the US, began Monday. Cruz has already pleaded guilty to killing 14 students and three teachers at the Parkland, Florida high school in 2018. Alex Dworet, whose brother Nicholas was killed in the shooting, testified Tuesday that even when he heard loud bangs and felt a "hot sensation" after being shot, he was "trying not to think this is real" and "trying not to freak out," the Sun-Sentinel reports. Dworet said he looked in front of him and saw that his 14-year-old classmate Alex Schachter had been shot and was clearly dying. "It was starting to get real," he said.

Two 14-year-old girls, Alaina Petty and Alyssa Alhadeff, also died in Dworet's classroom. English teacher Dara Hass testified that when police evacuated the classroom, she was reluctant to leave the three slain students behind. "I wanted to stay with the students who couldn’t go," she said. Defense lawyer David Wheeler argued Tuesday against introducing the video, saying it was so horrific it would overwhelm jurors emotionally. Judge Elizabeth Scherer sided with prosecutors, who argued that the video was needed to show the heinous, atrocious, and cruel" nature of Cruz's rampage. (Read more Parkland school shooting stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.