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The man who sold mass shooter Nikolas Cruz the AR-15 he used to slaughter 17 people at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School testified Tuesday that the teen claimed he wanted the powerful weapon for hunting.
Michael Morrison, the former owner of Sunrise Tactical Supply gun store, told jurors that he sold Cruz the weapon for $618.74 on Feb. 11, 2017. After the purchase, Cruz, then 18, had to wait five days to pick it up.
A little less than a year later, Cruz used the rifle to massacre 14 students and three staffers in one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history.
Morrison, who now works in paving, said when Cruz arrived to pick up the Smith & Wesson sporting rifle, they briefly chatted.
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“I came out and asked him, what are you going to do with the rifle, and the reply was, ‘I go shooting with my friends on the weekend. I just want my own stuff,’” Morrison testified.
After the shooting, Florida enacted a law raising the minimum age to purchase a firearm to 21.
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Morrison said the shop had safeguards in place. “We look for any red flags, any signs why this sale should not happen,” he told jurors in Broward County Circuit Court in Fort Lauderdale. “If for any reason anyone was uncomfortable with anything about the sale, the sale did not happen period.”
Prosecutor Mike Satz propped up the weapon on the witness box, and Morrison noted that the bipod, vertical grip and sling were added after the sale.
Broward County Chief Medical Examiner Rebecca MacDougall took the stand next and detailed the gruesome gunshot wounds Cruz inflicted on 15-year-old Alex Schacter, who was standing over a desk when the bullets penetrated his body.
She said that one bullet entered the teen’s left chest and damaged his spinal cord before exiting through his right lung. She said that had the boy survived, he would have been paralyzed from the waist down.
The boy’s father, Max Schacter, sat in the front row of the courtroom and wept during the graphic testimony.
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Cruz pleaded guilty to 17 counts of first-degree murder in October. The penalty trial will determine whether Cruz is sentenced to death or life in prison for the Feb. 14, 2018, rampage.