The trinidad Guardian / What caused utter chaos and panic among shoppers at the Aventura Mall in Miami on Saturday night may remain a mystery, but four Trinidadians are today thanking God for life.
Amid shouts of “active shooter,” Trinidadians Priya Deokie, her husband Keith Sylvester and friends Mawalal Sirju and Marlene Sirju ran, dropped and took cover to save their lives as an apparent shooting hoax at the mall, one of the largest in the United States, caused panic shoppers to scamper for cover and emergency exits.
According to a report in the Miami Herald, the incident occurred at about 7 pm. Panic erupted at the mall as shoppers ran amid reports of a shooting, the report stated. The mall was evacuated after being placed on lockdown. However, hours after, Aventura police said there were no victims and no evidence of shots being fired.
But dozens of Twitter users said they had heard something that sounded like gunshots. Shoppers gave differing accounts about where the sounds may have come from, as some said they heard shots and others reported the noise in different sections of the mall.
Recalling the most horrific moments in her life, Deokie told the T&T Guardian that she had to grab Marlene by the hand and run.
“The men were a distance away from us. Mawalal and I were chatting with a rep for face creams at Macy’s when we heard people screaming and saw them running.
“People were yelling “run” and some were saying “active shooter,” so I grabbed her hand and started to run. I saw a counter and pushed her into the space. We were falling over people, but we managed to drop for cover under the counter.”
Deokie added: “We dropped everything including shopping bags. Our husbands found us and after a minute or so some staff at Macy’s told us to run for the exit so we all followed. We got out to the parking lot, but our husbands turned back into the mall to see if they could help others.”
She added that after a few minutes, while all four of them were heading to their car, they heard another call to run for cover.
“We didn’t wait another second. We began to run for our lives again. All the time not knowing what was happening.”
Deokie said later that night while listening to a news report, they were informed the incident was a false alarm.
“We really did not hear gunshots or see any shooter(s)…but it was pure panic. It was terrifying! Lying on the floor under the counter, my friend and I thought we were going to die. We started praying. Our husbands on the other hand were quite brave and calm in the face of the uncertainty and confusion,” Deokie said.
“It was one of the scariest things I have ever experienced. There were baby strollers toppled over! When I think about it, I tremble with fear. I always read about it, but never thought I would experience something like it. I could only imagine what it must be like when the threat turns out to be real and you have to face the wrong end of these lunatics!”
We ran for our lives
Con Información de The trinidad Guardian
Síguenos en Twitter @entornoi