PARKLAND, Fla. – Days after she hid in terror as a gunman stalked the halls of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, a junior at the school told News4Jax that she can't see herself going back there.
Police said that about 2:20 p.m. Wedneday, Nikolas Cruz walked into Building 12 at the school in Parkland, a small community in Broward County.
Authorities said Cruz, who has been charged with 17 counts of murder in the massacre, pulled out a rifle and opened fire on the first floor. Kristalin Diaz said she was on the second floor of the building when the gunfire erupted.
She hid in the dark in a locked classroom. Her friend was downstairs. The two texted each other frantically.
“She was telling me that people in her class were being shot,” Diaz said. “I was just terrified. I was scared that she was going to be next or that I was going to be next or something.”
After he fired into four classrooms with a .223-caliber AR-15, police said, Cruz climbed the stairwell to the second floor.
“I heard him knocking on doors,” Diaz recalled. “I could hear him walking. I heard gunshots. I could hear other students screaming, so I knew he was hitting them.”
Cruz eventually dropped his weapon and escaped the building by mixing in with students fleeing, police said. The sheriff said officers caught Cruz in a nearby neighborhood and arrested him based on witnesses and surveillance video.
Diaz said she'll never forget the horror she felt in that dark classroom, waiting for the rampage to end. And she doesn't think she can sit in a classroom again without reliving it.
“I definitely am going to try to see if I can do online school,” she said, “because I don’t see myself going back there.”
She's not the only one who feels that way. The superintendent of the district told the South Florida Sun Sentinel on Friday that the district hopes to demolish Building 12 and replace it with a new building.