The mother of a 10-year-old Florida student was shot and killed as the girl sat in an online Zoom class — and her teacher reportedly watched on.
As CBS 12 reported, the girl was preparing for the first day of distance learning inside her Martin County home when there was an argument. Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said the teacher heard a commotion and saw the student put her hands up to her ears. The screen then went blank.
Investigators said that the commotion was an argument between 27-year-old Donald J. Williams and his ex-girlfriend, 32-year-old Maribel Rosado-Morales. Police said Williams repeatedly shot Rosado-Morales in front of her four horrified children and their two cousins after what investigators said was an argument about a social media post. One of the bullets struck the student’s computer screen, which is what caused it to go blank.
Police said Williams fled the scene on a bicycle and tried to board a Martin County Public Transit bus, but the driver grew suspicious and called 911. The wounded woman was airlifted to a nearby hospital, but was declared dead.
The shooting reportedly took place at close to 8 a.m., just as the first day of school for the year was about to start. It was not clear if the woman’s shooting was visible to the teacher or other members of the class. Snyder said that the teacher had muted the girl’s screen as the commotion started so the other students would not have to hear the altercation.
The school later released a statement offering condolences to the victim’s family, including the children who were home at the time of the shooting, and said they would be working to help other students impacted by the incident.
“We have our grief team deployed to assist students and staff who will undoubtedly feel the impact of this horrible incident,” a statement read, via CBS 12. “We stand ready to assist and offer support in any way we can.”
Snyder said that the killing was particularly difficult, even for someone with many years of experience.
“I’ve learned through decades of doing this that when you think you’ve seen everything, you haven’t,” he said, via BuzzFeed News. “I know that people hearing about this, reading about this, are going to be horrified by this.”
Williams reportedly confessed to the shooting and will face a first-degree murder charge. The Florida Department of Children and Families is working to find someone to care for the student and her siblings, police said.