parkland school shooting

First Officers at Parkland School Shooting Testify About Ghastly Scene

Officers and deputies were among the first to respond to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting

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Some of the first police officers and deputies who responded to the Parkland school shooting four years ago testified at the gunman's trial Friday about the horrors they found.

Coral Springs Police Capt. Nicholas Mazzei testified that when he arrived at scene he immediately saw a body lying on the ground outside the freshman building at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

"I checked him for vitals, realized that he was deceased, believed that there was still a shooter inside the building and we made entry into the building," Mazzei said.

The body Mazzei encountered was assistant football coach Aaron Feis, who was shot and killed while trying to protect students.

Mazzei was also shown a photo of him making contact with a victim inside the doors of the building, which turned out to be athletic director Christopher Hixon.

The BSO officer describes his experience as a responder to the school where the 2018 mass shooting occurred.

Broward Sheriff's Office Sgt. Richard Van Der Eems testified that he was working as a deputy in Deerfield Beach at the time and "went lights and sirens to the school" when word came on the radio of a shooting there.

"When I went in I originally went through the front doors, I observed a child dead on the ground on the left and there was like smoke and dust in the air," Van Der Eems said.

He said officers were clearing rooms of students so he went to the third floor, where he and other officers spotted a wounded Anthony Borges, one of the students who was badly injured in the shooting but survived.

"We looked down the hallway and there was a child all the way at the very end, he was kind of like trying to raise his hand up and he was trying to say something but he kept trying to raise his hand up so we could see that he was alive," Van Der Eems said. "We grabbed him and we drug him all the way back to the westside stairwell where one of the medics had just come up and started to work on him."

Van Der Eems testified that he was wearing a body camera at the time which showed students Cara Loughran and Meadow Pollack dead at the scene.

Coral Springs Police Det. David Alfin, who was with Van Der Eems, said he saw one student, Joaquin Oliver, laying up against a bathroom door, deceased. Two other students, Jaime Guttenberg and Peter Wang, were also found dead in the hallway, Alfin testified.

The gunman, now 23, pleaded guilty in October to 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in the Feb. 14, 2018 shooting. A jury is deciding whether he'll be sentenced to death or given life in prison.

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