msnbc | December 11, 2012
>> reporter: about 3:30 this afternoon when somebody ran in, opened fire dressed in some kind of a mask and body armor with an assault rifle . people began running madly from the building, but others just had to find a place to hide. police now telling us that that shooter has been neutralized. abby gibb is standing by with someone who also was inside when this shooting started happening.
>> i was talking to this young gentleman here mario who was down stairs when it happened. just to clarify, the shooting did happen upstairs. we've been talk about this that people are slowly able to trickle out. you just got out of this building. tell me where you were exactly when you first heard the shots?
>> i was at my kiosk. i work at the electronic cigarette kiosk. and i was waiting for people to come by, and all of the sudden we heard gunshots. a couple in a row and more. and it triggered everyone, gunshots, get out of the way. way only makes sense. we started going out the opposite direction, and we were ushered into a store. people saying get in the store, it's safer. and we waited. we were getting phone calls left and right. that's when finally we saw s.w.a.t. come in. they told us to stay until further notice because they were searching for other people. eventually they got to us. they had a bunch of guards around us and they ushered the whole group out at once, women and children first, the whole safety procedure.
>> so you're inside the store. it's locked down. you're seeing s.w.a.t. go by you. at what point do you start to get a little scared, freak out at all?
>> it doesn't do any good to freak out. like it's not going to help there are already people freaking out. one more is just going to add to the chaos. it's pointless.
>> so you were able to stay calm?
>> there is quite a few people staying calm. there are a few of people scared in the corner kind of waiting. but for the most part we stayed calm. we were locked in, the big old glass doors and s.w.a.t. was on the way. so we waited for further notice.
>> how does it feel to be inside a store, to know there is an active shooter and to see s.w.a.t. walking by you?
>> it was a little weird. it was a little scary. i'm not going to lie to you. but i trust they do their job well and i think they handled it well enough. and freaking out is not going to help anyone. stay calm, try to help everyone stay orderly.
>> and mario , how long did you stay inside the store?
>> about 40 minutesish, 30, 40 minutes. we were there before that happened. there was just a lot of people. you saw a couple of people walking by, and we ducked back into the corner hoping it wasn't that person. i felt sorry for the people who didn't get into a store. they were really scared too.
>> understandably. and last question. you're doing a great job. tell me again what it was like and what exactly happened as s.w.a.t. escorted you out?
>> when they escorted us out, they had multiple people covering multiple viewpoints. women and children first, stay tight, stay low. and they had multiple people with guns at the ready, ready to go. and they say stay low. when we first got out, there was a guy walking back and forth, which scared a lot of people. everyone stopped, right. and so what happened was one of those guys, the s.w.a.t. guys came out and put him against the wall and searched him. he wasn't one of them. but it scared everyone en, a guy walking outside the doors. he joined the group and stay low, be quick, and women and children first.
>> mario , thank you so much for sharing your story. and i'm glad to know you're okay. so these are the stories, tracy, that we're hearing all afternoon long. and again, just to reiterate, there are a lot of people. we don't number of people that are still inside this mall here this evening that locked themselves in many of these stores. for their own safety, and are slowly waiting for the s.w.a.t. teams to be able to escort them out, just like mario had that experience just a few minutes ago. i also want to tell you that as you can see, we're right outside the macy's right now. i did see another s.w.a.t. vehicle come by within the last 15 minutes or so. and with guns drawn and at the ready, racing back over towards that macy's entrance. so i think they're making an active effort right now to be able to help more and more people get out of this safely. but still very scary, and a lot of people still very shooken up out here as they're starting to trickle their way out from this mall. back to you.
>> abby, most people seem to be handling it pretty well. but you know there is going to be repercussions in the days ahead. you know, there is definitely going to be some trauma involved in this. it's not just the people that were injured physically, but this would just scare the daylights out of you.
>> no kidding. and there is no question about that. there is going to be a need for some after care.
>> for the people who saw this and were so close to those who were injured and running for their lives