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A former Parkland, Florida, teacher recounted Wednesday on the stand a student in her Holocaust studies class correctly answering a question seconds before then-teen Nikolas Cruz gunned him down in a school shooting that left 17 people dead.
Cruz, 23, is on trial at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale for the Feb. 14, 2018, massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
In October, he pleaded guilty to 17 counts of first-degree murder.
The penalty trial, which began Monday, will determine whether he is sentenced to death or life in prison without parole.
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Ivy Schamis became tearful as she recalled lecturing about the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany when star swimmer Nick Dworet said that Adolf Dassler founded the Adidas shoe company and Dassler’s brother launched the rival Puma brand.
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“It was really seconds later that the barrel of the AR-15 just ambushed our classroom,” Schamis testified, dabbing her eyes with a tissue.
“It came right through that glass panel and was just shooting everywhere. It was very loud. Very frightening. I kept thinking about these kids who should not be experiencing this at all.”
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Cruz, who was expelled from the school the prior year, had shoved his rifle through a glass window on the internal door to spray the first-floor classroom with bullets.
Two of Schamis’ students were killed: Dworet and Helena Ramsay, both 17. Three others were wounded.
The prosecutor showed Schamis photos of the slain students, and she began to sob. “That’s my girl, Helena Ramsay,” she said. “Nicholas Dworet, handsome boy.”
Other teachers also testified Wednesday about the horrifying carnage wrought by Cruz, as he stalked through the halls of the three-story building shooting randomly at human targets.
An athletic director, a coach, a teacher and 14 students died during the rampage.
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Jurors on Tuesday were shown gruesome surveillance footage of Cruz shooting victims at point-blank range, and returning to classrooms to execute some of the injured who lay on the floor.
The trial resumes Thursday morning.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.