FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Ernest Rospierski’s tone in court during his testimony overshadowed previous tales of his bravery on Feb. 14, 2018, while on the 1200 building’s third floor of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
Rospierski, who ushered some students to safety during the shooting, yawned when he walked in front of the jury box where 12 jurors and 10 alternates face Nikolas Cruz.
While behind the stand, Rospierski rolled his eyes, laughed, and added a bit of sarcasm as he answered Assistant State Attorney Mike Satz’s questions.
Satz and Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer appeared to understand that everyone copes with trauma differently, so they did not acknowledge the behavior and allowed Rospierski to testify. The geography and history teacher said the bullets grazed his face and hip.
“I pushed a bunch of kids who were in front of me into the alcove next to my door ... I saw the shooter had the gun up and away ... I then tried my neighbor’s door because I couldn’t get into my room because my keys were in my room ... I forgot to grab them as I left ... I yelled at the kids to run,” Ropierski said.
Surveillance video shows him running behind a group of about a dozen students down the hallway and to a stairwell. Ropierski held the door for the students. Meadow Pollack, Cara Loughren, Jaime Guttenberg, and Peter Wang didn’t make it out alive.
The video shows Jaime made it to the door and collapsed.
“There was a girl with dark hair. I thought it was Jaime but I wasn’t sure ... I reached down and shook her trying to get some sort of reaction. I got nothing and that’s when I decided to run. I didn’t try and grab her because, quite frankly, I didn’t think I could do anything,” Ropierski said.
The fathers of Alexander Schachter and Jaime Guttenberg, who are among the 17 killed at MSD, had emotional reactions to Rospierski’s testimony on Wednesday. Max Schachter turned his head from side to side. His lips tightened. Fred Guttenberg was in tears.
Watch video of Rospierski