(Aired 'Good Morning America', February 21st.)
"I heard gunshots in the stairwell about 20 feet away from my room. Kids were screaming and running back towards me from the end of the hallway.
"So I went in this very strange auto-pilot mode. I pivoted on my feet and unlocked my door and kids started pouring in my room. I don't know how many were in there.
"And then I suddenly saw the shooter about 20 feet from me at the end of the hallway actively shooting down the hallway - just a barrage of bullets!
"I'm staring at him thinking, 'Why are the police here?' This is strange, because he is in full metal garb - helmet, face mask, bullet-proof armour, shooting this rifle that I've never seen before.
"I don't know when I decided it was the right time I decided to close the door." (Contd)
She says that several shots were fired into her class room through the shattered glass panel. No one in her room appears to have been injured substantially. After this they remained in the room for more than forty five (45) minutes before the police broke in. As she left she saw a fellow teacher and others dead on the hall floor.
Watch video @: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPvYxTa1ph4
As far as I am aware although it has been reported that Cruz carried an AR 15 rifle, back pack with 300 rounds, smoke bombs and gas mask (pretty impressive on its own) no one has suggested he was wearing a helmet and full body armour. If he was it would make his trip to the school by taxi, even more extraordinary.
We are told that he dropped his rifle and back pack still containing 150 unused bullets on the top floor but no mention has been made of the other paraphernalia referred to in this witness statement. This he would have had to divest himself of, before with an acquaintance only nine (9) minutes after entering, he left the building in the red polo shirt and jeans he was arrested in.
If Rachel Lippel's account is accurate and can be believed, it gives support to the suggestion that if indeed Cruz did shoot anyone, at the very least, he was not alone. Moreover the shooter described suggests a very different 'animal' bearing all the hallmarks of a military or para-military person. The fact that none such has been apprehended or even acknowledged is very suspicious reinforced by the complete absence of CCTV although the school is well covered by it.
Note also in the interview Ms Lippel refers to hearing a helicopter very soon after the shooting started. We would need to know when the police received the first emergency call (I haven't seen it reported) to make a judgement on response times including that of any police or press helicopter but this needs to ascertained. It should be remembered that helicopters have appeared before in such cases most recently in highly suspicious Las Vegas shooting, and can potentially provide logistical support for any covert action.
I have one reservation with her account. She is quoted as saying,
"The door was open, and I was pulling it closed with both hands, knowing I really needed to get it shut tight, cause it doesn't close [easily]. You have to get it in the right position," Lippel said, adding that, in that moment, she yelled at the teacher next door to close his door as well. Lippel's colleague, 35-year-old Scott Beigel, died in the shooting doing the "same thing" she was -- by letting students seek refuge in his classroom. "But he didn't close his door in time," Lippel said.
When she describes this she uses her hands and arms to demonstrate pulling the door towards her. How can this be explained? Doors invariable open into classroom.
To pull the door towards her she would either have had to have been outside the classroom in the corridor and thus exposed to the deadly gun fire, or if inside the classroom the door would have had to open outwards, which although I haven't inspected the location, I think highly unlikely.
As she places great emphasis on this action, even embroidering it with the suggestion that the door doesn't close easily, it is hard to see it as other than dubious, introducing doubt to the whole account.