'Bullets were flying': Parkland survivor Dylan Kraemer recalls moment Nikolas Cruz fired at class

Dylan Kraemer recalled that on the day of the attack, Nikolas Cruz was wearing a hat and a vest, and was holding 'a large AR-15'


                            'Bullets were flying': Parkland survivor Dylan Kraemer recalls moment Nikolas Cruz fired at class
Dylan Kraemer who was a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School when the shooting took place (CBS News/YouTube screenshot)
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Warning: Content may be distressing, viewer discretion is advised

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA: A jury is set to determine if confessed Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz will be sentenced to death. On Monday, July 18, opening arguments in the penalty phase of Cruz's trial began. The trial is expected to take several months, at the end of which the jury's decision has to be unanimous to sentence him to death.

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Describing the massacre as a "planned, systematic ... mass murder", prosecutor Mike Satz said in his opening statement, "Three days before the massacre, Cruz made a video saying, 'My name is Nik. I'm going to be the next school shooter of 2018. My goal is at least 20 people with an AR-15 and some tracer rounds. It's gonna be a big event and when you see me on the news you'll know who I am. You're all gonna die. ... I can't wait.'" 

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Among other witnesses was Dylan Kraemer, who was a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School when the shooting took place. Kraemer recalled the attack on the stand. "We knocked down a file cabinet, and tried to get as many students behind it [as we could]," he said. 

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"We knocked down a file cabinet, and tried to get as many students behind it [as we could]," Dylan Kraemer recalled (CBS News/YouTube screenshot)

"Eventually the shooter started shooting through the window [in the door] and bullets were flying through," he said. "I looked over and two people were dead and multiple people were shot."

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Nikolas Cruz, surrounded by his defense team, sat with his head down and doodled (
Nikolas Cruz, surrounded by his defense team, sat with his head down and doodled (LiveNOW from FOX/YouTube screenshot)

Kraemer said on the day of the attack, Cruz was wearing a hat and a vest, and was holding "a large AR-15." He identified Nicholas Dworet as one of the students who was murdered in the classroom. Kraemer recalled how he checked Dworet's pulse after the shooting.

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Attorneys for Cruz called for a mistrial, insisting their client did not receive a fair consideration after the jury saw an emotional reaction in the gallery. One of the attorneys said that when a video of the shooting was played as part of Kraemer's testimony, a family friend of a victim had to be escorted out of the room after shouting, "Turn it off, turn it off!" Judge Elizabeth Scherer, however, struck down the motion.

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Nikolas Cruz held his head in his hands as clips from inside the classrooms during the shooting were played (LiveNOW from FOX/YouTube screenshot)
Nikolas Cruz held his head in his hands as clips from inside the classrooms during the shooting were played (LiveNOW from FOX/YouTube screenshot)

Cruz appeared alongside his defense team in several photos at the trial. In some of the photos, he can be seen holding his head in his hands as horrifying videos from inside classrooms during the shooting were played. The videos provoked emotional reactions from the families of victims who were present in court.

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Cruz, surrounded by his defense team, sat with his head down and doodled. Videos recorded by former Marjory Stoneman Douglas student Danielle Gilbert, who was the second witness to be called on the stand, were played in the courtroom. Jurors were able to watch the videos but the gallery could only hear the audios. While Cruz held his head in his hands as the recordings played, family members of the victims could be seen crying or leaving the room. 

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Cruz, then 19, shot dead 14 students and three staff members at his former school Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in South Florida, on February 14, 2018. He pleaded guilty to 17 counts of first-degree murder last fall in connection with the shooting.

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