The Parkland survivor recalls Nikolas Cruz taking aim at him as he ran with a broken ankle
A victim of the Parkland school shooting gave a horrific account in court on Wednesday of being attacked by killer Nikolas Cruz as he ran for his life with a broken ankle.
Recalling the tragedy at Cruz’s sentencing trial, Kyle Laman told the jury he was in a crowded hallway when gunfire first rang out during the February 2018 massacre.
As the students scampered in all directions, Laman said he froze and suddenly felt a burning sensation in his foot.
“I look down and see that my ankle is in pieces,” he said. “Extinguished.”
Laman said he and two friends were desperately trying to hatch an escape plan when deafening gunshots and screams echoed in the hallway.
“We’re going to die,” Laman said to his friend.
Laman then peeked around a corner and saw Cruz unloading bullets into a classroom.
His friend Joaquin Oliver struggled to find sanctuary in a locked bathroom. He was later killed.
Seeing that Cruz was still firing into the room, Laman saw his chance to escape.
“I was the only person in the hallway aside from the shooter … at the time,” he said. “Except for the bodies on the floor. As I was running, he aimed at me and started shooting at me.”
Laman said he remembered four shots slamming into the walls around him as he ran.
Remarkably, he managed to storm down three flights of stairs and safely exit the building.
Laman, who is studying to become a paramedic, has had four ankle surgeries and is still suffering from the injury.
Laman gave Cruz a menacing look on the way out and briefly made eye contact with his would-be killer.
Earlier, former Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Veronica Steel recalled seeing teacher Scott Beigel shot dead in a door after he bravely unlocked his classroom to allow fleeing children inside.
Steel, who recorded cellphone video of the chaos, said she and other students took cover in the heroic teacher’s classroom after gunshots rang out in a hallway.
“We shielded with our backpacks and had a clear view of the door and we noticed the door wasn’t closed,” Steel said.
“It was wide open. Our teacher Beigel was partially in the classroom and his torso was outside of the classroom. His body blocked the door and held it open. It was very scary for us.”
Cruz shot Beigel while he was holding the door open for his students.
Prosecutor Mike Satz played Steel’s startling video to the jury. Only audio was available to the court gallery.
A voice is heard screaming for help as the students try to stifle their screams and whimpers as they crouch down.
Steel once identified Beigel’s body in footage.
In the video, children can be heard screaming after being led out of the room by police. “Oh dear God! Oh dear God!” a voice keeps screaming.
In court, Cruz plugged his ears with his thumbs while the clip played.
Another student, Anthony Borges, said he called his father to say goodbye after Cruz shot him in the leg in a hallway during the shooting.
He was beaten five times but managed to survive after 14 surgeries. At the request of Satz, he showed the court gunshot wounds to his back, leg and armpit.
Teacher Ernest Rospierski recalled seeing the lifeless body of student Jaime Guttenberg in a hallway after he held open a door to allow children to escape.
Guttenberg’s father, Dan Guttenberg, became a vocal supporter of gun control after the death of his daughter.
“I reached out and shook it to get a reaction,” Rospierski testified. “I have nothing. When I decided to run, I didn’t try to grab her because, honestly, I didn’t think there was anything I could do.”
Tormented by the first-hand account of his daughter’s final moments, Guttenberg’s eyes watered in the gallery.