Mother shot during child’s online Zoom lesson in Florida

James Crump
·2-min read
Donald J Williams in police custody on Tuesday: (Martin County Sheriff's Office)
Donald J Williams in police custody on Tuesday: (Martin County Sheriff's Office)

A 10-year-old girl witnessed her mother being shot and killed while she attended an online Zoom lesson on her first day of school.

Maribel Rosado-Morales was shot dead on Tuesday in Indianatown, Florida, at around 8am. The suspect Donald J Williams was taken into custody around 40 minutes later, according to NBC News.

Martin County sheriff William Snyder told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday that investigators believe that the shooting occurred after Mr Williams and Ms Rosado-Morales had argued.

The pair had previously dated and officers had been called to the house before for incidents of domestic violence, but the sheriff said that they did not think it was an “ongoing problem.”

Mr Snyder said that on Tuesday morning Mr Williams confronted Ms Rosado-Morales about a video, “and then later we learned there was a conversation about Facebook. He said she actually started to smile at him and he became enraged and shot her.”

Ms Rosado-Morales, who was 32 years old, was shot multiple times by the 27-year-old and died later that day at a local hospital. No one else was injured in the incident.

At the time of the shooting, six children were inside the house, including the ten-year-old who had just started her first lesson of the school year at Warfield Elementary on Zoom.

Numerous schools around the country have restarted lessons online in the last few weeks, as many parents do not feel comfortable sending their children back to classes, amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Snyder told reporters that the child’s teacher witnessed the 10-year-old react to the shooting over Zoom and “realised there was some type of domestic altercation,” after she put her hands over her ears.

He added that the teacher then muted the child so that none of the other children had to listen to the incident and confirmed that the 10-year-old’s screen went black after her computer was hit by a bullet.

The sheriff said that he has “learned through decades of doing this that when you think you’ve seen everything, you haven’t,” and added: “I know that people hearing about this, reading about this, are going to be horrified”.

The Martin County School District released a statement about the incident and confirmed that grief counsellors will be available for any student or teacher that feels they need support.

“Our deepest sympathies and condolences go out to the family and children who were witnesses to this heartbreaking and senseless tragedy,” the statement read.

“The incident is still under active investigation by law enforcement, and we will continue to respect the privacy of the teacher and our students,” the district added.

Mr Williams, who confessed to the shooting, faces charges of first-degree murder alongside other felony offences.

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