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A 10-Year-Old Girl Saw Her Mom Get Shot And Killed While Attending Class On Zoom

The teacher saw the girl put her hands up to her ears just before a bullet struck the computer and made the screen go blank, authorities said.

Last updated on August 11, 2020, at 5:36 p.m. ET

Posted on August 11, 2020, at 5:17 p.m. ET

Two  deputies lead a man in handcuffs  toward a patrol car.
Courtesy of the Martin County Sheriff's Office

A 10-year-old girl in Florida was logged on for the first day of her online class Tuesday when she witnessed her mother being shot and killed by an ex-boyfriend, officials said.

Yelling and profanity could be heard over the Zoom call right before the shooting happened in Indiantown, just as other children were logging in for the online class. The commotion prompted the teacher to mute the audio from the video call, Martin County Sheriff William Snyder told reporters.

"The teacher said she heard and saw a commotion, heard profanity, and realized there was some sort of domestic altercation," he said. "Then [the teacher] sees the 10-year-old put her hands up to her ears."

That's when shots were fired inside the home, officials said, including one bullet that struck the computer being used by the girl, making her screen go blank, Snyder added.

About 40 minutes later, Snyder said, deputies arrested 27-year-old Donald J. Williams on suspicion of killing 32-year-old Maribel Rosado Morales. Authorities said they also retrieved a handgun believed to be used in the shooting that had been reported stolen from a car in 2015.

The former couple had been estranged for more than a year and had a history of domestic violence, Snyder said.

Tuesday was the first day of school for Warfield Elementary in Indiantown, where the 10-year-old girl was attending online classes because of the pandemic.

There were six children in the home at the time of the shooting, including three siblings of the 10-year-old girl and two cousins who lived nearby, Snyder said.

"I've learned through decades of doing this that when you think you've seen everything, you haven't," Snyder said. "I know that people hearing about this, reading about this, are going to be horrified by this."

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.