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Mother fatally shot in home while daughter, 10, takes online Zoom elementary school class — and teacher sees the girl's reaction


'The teacher said that she heard a commotion, heard profanity, realized there was some kind of domestic altercation, [and] could see the child that's online'

Suspected shooter Donald L. Williams (Image source: Martin County Sheriff's Office)

A Florida mother was fatally shot Tuesday morning while her 10-year-old daughter took an online Zoom elementary school class — and the girl's teacher could hear the incident unfolding and see the girl reacting to it.

What are the details?

Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said Donald L. Williams, 27, shot ex-girlfriend Maribel Morales-Rosado, 32, multiple times in front of several children in an Indiantown home, Treasure Coast Palm reported.

Snyder said investigators believe there was an argument between Williams and Morales-Rosado, the mother of the 10-year-old girl, NBC News reported, adding that Williams and Rosado-Morales previously dated.

"He went in and confronted her with something to do with a video," the sheriff said, according the network. "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."

Snyder believes most of the children in the home witnessed the shooting, NBC News said. Four of them are Rosado-Morales' children, and two cousins were there, too, the network said. None of the children — who range in age from 10 to 17 — were injured, and none are related to Williams, the outlet added.

What about the Zoom classroom session?

The 10-year-old girl was taking an online Zoom class at the time of the shooting, Snyder said during his news conference. It was the first day of class for Warfield Elementary School, TC Palm reported.

"The teacher's online — I've never done a Zoom with children, so I'm picturing there's other children on — and the teacher can see the children," Snyder said, according to NBC News. "The teacher said she heard a commotion, heard profanity, realized there was some type of domestic altercation [and] could see the child that's online. The teacher said she mutes her button so nobody has to hear it, and then she sees the 10-year-old put her hands up to her ears."

The sheriff added that "almost immediately after the child put her hands up to her ears, the computer screen went blank. We know the computer was hit with a projectile," NBC News said.

What happened next?

Morales-Rosado was taken to a Fort Pierce hospital but died, TC Palm reported.

Snyder said investigators believe that after the shooting Williams got on a bicycle, went to a nearby laundromat, and then boarded a community bus and asked if the driver would take him to Stuart, the paper added.

"She said this is a local bus, and he said, 'Well, no, I need to go to Stuart,'" the sheriff continued, according to TC Palm. "He had a bag in his hand. She got suspicious, did the right thing, exited the bus, called 911."

Snyder said the sheriff's department SWAT team was in western Martin County for training and took Williams into custody, the paper reported.

The sheriff said a gun was found in a bag on the bus, and Williams "made a full confession," NBC News reported. Williams is suspected to have used a handgun stolen in a 2015 Sewall's Point vehicle burglary, TC Palm said.

Snyder said Williams will be arrested on charges including first-degree murder, armed burglary, and armed home invasion, the paper reported.

The sheriff said Williams and Morales-Rosado had been separated for more than a year, TC Palm reported, and that Williams lives a couple of streets away from Morales-Rosado.

Snyder also said Morales-Rosado recently was released from jail in connection with a domestic battery case in which Williams was the victim, the paper said.

What did the school district have to say?

A Martin County School District spokesperson told NBC News that "our deepest sympathies and condolences go out to the family and children who were witnesses to this heartbreaking and senseless tragedy."

Grief counselors will be available for students and staff who need them, the network added.

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