Gun shop owner, medical examiners, testify in Parkland school shooting trial
It was still legal for an 18 year olds to buy a rifle in Florida when the shooter purchased his from a Coral Springs gun store a year before the shooting.
A year before a 19-year-old killed 17 people and injured 17 others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school, he bought an AR-15-style rifle at a Coral Springs gun store.
He filled out the required ATF Form 4473 and provided his driver’s license. He picked the gun up a week later–a year before using it to commit the deadliest school shooting in Florida’s history.
Jurors in the Parkland school shooter death penalty trial listened to testimony from Michael Morrison, who owned Sunrise Tactical Supply. He described the process of buying a rifle and how he and his employees looked out for red flags in customers.
He told jurors that Nikolas Cruz said he goes out shooting on weekends with friends and wanted his own gear. Cruz left the gun shop with only the gun and the magazine it came with.
Attorney Douglas Rudman, who represented Morrison in 2018, told reporters that Cruz purchased the semi-automatic rifle off the rack and in a box and did not purchase any ammunition with it other than the magazine that came with the gun.
Cruz did not purchase accessories or make any modifications to the AR-15 in store, Morrison said.
A month after the shooting then-Gov. Rick Scott signed a law raising the minimum age to buy a rifle to 21. Before the law, an 18-year-old could buy a rifle legally, but not a handgun.
Graphic testimony continued later in the day as jurors heard from more medical examiners who performed autopsies on victims.
Medical examiners detailed the wounds that killed five students and one teacher during the shooting. The parents of some of the victims were in the courtroom.
Alex Schachter’s father, Max, wept while covering his face as Dr. Rebecca Macdougal described the multiple bullet wounds that killed Alex.
Cruz pleaded guilty in October to 17 counts of first-degree murder. The jury will only decide if he is sentenced to death or life without parole. They have to vote 17 times, once for each of the victims.
His is the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history to reach trial. Most shooters are either killed by police or die by suicide.
For each death sentence, the jury must be unanimous, or the sentence for the shooter is life in prison.
The jurors are told that to vote for death, the prosecution’s aggravating circumstances for that victim must, in their judgment, “outweigh” the defense’s mitigators.