Stacey Lippel, a Language Arts and Creative Writing teacher at Marjory Stoneman High School, came face to face with the shooter on February 14th, as she ushered terrified students into her classroom for shelter.She chronicled her encounter during a sit-down interview on ‘Good Morning America.’
“All of a sudden I heard gun shots in the stairwell, which is about 20 feet away from my room, and then kids were screaming and running back towards me, towards the end of the hallway,” she explained. “So, I just went in this very strange autopilot mode where I pivoted on my feet and unlocked my door, and kids just started pouring in my room. I don’t know how many kids were in there, but I was pulling them in and shouting at them to get in the room.”
“Then I suddenly saw the shooter, about 20 feet from me, standing at the end of the hallway, actively shooting down the hallway – just a barrage of bullets. And I’m staring at him thinking, ‘Why is the police here? This is strange.’ He was in full metal garb – helmet, face mask, bulletproof armor, shooting this rifle that I’d never seen before.”
Lippel says she then pulled her door shut, but not before one of the shooter’s rounds grazed her arm – a wound which she showed to the camera.
She described warning fellow teacher Scott Beigel to also shut his door, adding that Beigel “couldn’t see the shooter – I had a good visual of him, which is why I yelled at him to shut his door.”
Strangely, there have been few if any reports that Nikolas Cruz was decked out in full body armor, or that he resembled a member of law enforcement.
An official timeline of events maintains that Cruz arrived in an Uber at the high school, and less than three minutes later, he had already embarked on a rampage inside the school.
Cruz reportedly transported a rifle in a soft case, and carried extra magazines in a backpack.
A conflict arises between these details and Ms. Lippel’s account, as the baggage necessary to carry a full outfit of body armor would likely exceed that which has been reported, and even a well-trained individual would require longer than 1-2 minutes to don a tactical ensemble resembling the type Lippel describes, while on the move.
Cruz was apprehended by police in just his plain clothes, after reportedly abandoning his bag and rifle at the school.
Another eyewitness, student Alex Miednik, told local media she believes there was a second shooter, because she was talking to Nikolas Cruz as shots were being fired elsewhere in the school.
“I actually was speaking to the “suspect” [she even did air quotes] and as I was speaking with him, he seemed very… I don’t know what the word is I want to say…” she said. “But he was very troubled in middle school and I joked to him about it and said ‘I’m surprised you weren’t the one who did it.’”
As the narrative surrounding the horrific Parkland massacre continues to unravel to the shock and horror of the nation, Ms. Lippel’s tale only creates an added element of mystification.