Lead prosecutor Mike Satz read a “terrifying” message that Cruz recorded on his phone days before the mass shooting
WARNING: This article contains graphic images and content that some readers may find disturbing. Discretion is recommended.
Day 1 of the death penalty trial of confessed Parkland gunman Nikolas Cruz was traumatic for the students’ parents and family members. The courtroom was filled with harrowing cries of students screaming for help from videos and audio recordings of Cruz’s killing spree. “Someone help me!” a student was heard asking in one of the recordings. The parents wept as prosecutors detailed the events of the shooting, including the names of those killed.
The trial for 23-year-old Cruz, who killed 17 and injured 17 others in the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, began with opening statements from lead prosecutor Mike Satz, who said, “I’ll be.” talk to you about the unspeakable. About this accused’s targeted, planned, systematic murder – mass murder – of 14 children, a sports director, a teacher and a coach.” Satz also read a message Cruz recorded on his phone days before filming: “I want the be the next school shooter in 2018. My goal is at least 20 people with an AR. I think it’s going to be a big event. And if you see me on the news, you’ll know who I am. They will all die. Oh yes, I can’t wait.” Videos and audio recordings made by students during the classroom shooting were played to the court. However, a Newsweek report suggests that the judges could see the video and the gallery could only hear the audio.
First video by Danielle Gilbert
Among the first witnesses was Danielle Gilbert, a former student of Marjory Stoneman Douglas who was in a psychology class when the shooting began. Gilbert’s video was the first to be played in the courtroom. Gilbert, who is now a student at the University of Central Florida, said, “We sat there like sitting ducks. We had no way of protecting ourselves.” This was followed by another video showing about two dozen shots fired through a door as the fire alarm went off. An unidentified boy was heard crying and pleading, “Someone help me.” As the recording continued to play, Gilbert was seen crying along with the victims’ family members. As some exited the courtroom, the gunman was seen holding Cruz’s head.
As can be seen in the video, former student Dylan Kraemer was called as a witness. Kramer was one of the students who recorded video during filming. Some people in the gallery reportedly couldn’t bear to see the video Kraemer recorded. “Turn it off,” some wailed. However, a deputy went over to remind members that they were not allowed to comment during the court session.
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Broward County District Judge Elizabeth Scherer, who is presiding over the trial, which is expected to last at least four months, said it was “not even close to causing a mistrial.”