(NEW YORK) — A store employee at the Clackamas Town Center mall in suburban Portland, Ore., used his knowledge of the shopping complex to hustle his mother out of the building during Tuesday’s shooting rampage. He then twice went back inside to guide other shoppers to exits and safety.
Allan Fonseca works at the Lancome counter in Macy’s and was waiting on his mother Jocelyn Lay when they heard shots fired about 3:30 p.m. Thinking quickly, Fonseca got his mother behind the counter to hide.
“We both just looked at each other and knew that this was a serious situation and it was a gunman and we both just dove down below the Lancome counter there for a little protection,” Lay told ABC’s Good Morning America. “And the gunfire just kept going off.”
Lay said that she began praying for the Lord to protect her and the other shoppers in the mall. She said that her son, as a store employee, knew exactly what to do, and she credits him as her hero.
“He said that we needed to evacuate, and he took me by the hand and took me down the escalator and out to safety,” she said.
Once Fonseca was sure that his mother was safe, he then turned to her and said, “I’m going to go back and help other people.”
Fonseca said that because he is familiar with the exits in the mall, he felt that he would be able to help shoppers escape the gunfire.
“I felt that if I knew how to get out of the mall and out to safety then I should share that knowledge with everyone else, like the shoppers that don’t come here regularly and don’t know all of the exits,” he said. “So I decided to go back up because I wanted to see if there was anybody in panic or didn’t know where to do.”
Fonseca returned to the mall and evacuated the lower level of the Macy’s store, and then went back up to the “shooting floor” to look for his co-workers. Lay says she’s not sure what she would have done if her son hadn’t been there to get her out of harm’s way.
“I probably just would have stayed there and probably would have had a little more fear because it’s one of those situations where you’ve seen in previous shootings, the gunman keep shooting and keep looking for different people,” she said. “I would have huddled there and hoped and prayed.”
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