Parkland school shooting

‘I Remember Shaking': Parkland Teacher Who Lost Multiple Students Testifies

English teacher Dara Hass testified Tuesday that it was a normal day on Feb. 14, 2018 when all the sudden gunshots rang out

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

A teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who lost multiple students in the 2018 shooting testified at the gunman's sentencing trial Tuesday.

English teacher Dara Hass has been an educator for about 15 years and started at Stoneman Douglas in the Fall of 2016.

Hass testified Tuesday that it was a normal day on Feb. 14, 2018 when all the sudden gunshots rang out.

"We heard the pop-pop-pop, the sound of the gunshots. It happened quick,” she said. "My first instinct was it was a drill so I went to shut the blinds but the sound, it was so loud."

Hass fought back tears as she described the terror as she quickly realized it wasn't a drill.

"I remember shaking and telling the students to go where they need to go, it was a drill. The students were screaming, students were coming to my desk and screaming and shouting," Hass said. "I saw that it was not a drill."

Hass said multiple students who had been in her class didn't survive.

"One of the students was injured, he didn’t have time to make it out of his desk, that was Alex Schachter," she said.

Hass called 911 and texted her husband to call 911 as the gunfire continued.

"The room filled with smoke, it was hazy, the kids were doing the best they could to get to safety in a classroom that has nowhere to go," she testified. "We just tried our best to follow the direction of the 911 that said to stay quiet and to do our best while help was on the way."

NBC 6's Tony Pipitone reports on the second day of the trial of Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz

As quickly as the gunfire erupted, it suddenly stopped, Hass said.

"It was hazy and you could smell the sulfur from the guns. Debris was flying across the room, the students were crying and some of the students had been injured and all of the sudden it was quiet," she said.

Hass said police entered her room and started taking kids to safety but she didn't want to leave injured students behind.

"It was hard for me to leave because I wanted to stay with the students that couldn't go," she said.

Hass said in addition to Schachter, victims Alaina Petty and Alyssa Alhadeff had been in her classroom.

So far, 20 people have testified over two days, including 12 students, three teachers, a vice principal, a video technician and three FBI agents.

The gunman has pleaded guilty to murdering 17 people and leaving 17 others wounded in the shooting. He's facing the death penalty or life in prison.

  • Click here for complete coverage of the Parkland school shooting sentencing
  • Contact Us