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December 12th, 2012
10:52 AM ET

Oregon mall shooting witness on fleeing from the hair salon after hearing the first shots of gunfire

Police say there were ten-thousand people inside the Clackamas Town Center in suburban Portland Tuesday when a man wearing a mask suddenly opened fire. According to the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office, three people were killed, including the shooter who died of a self-inflicted gunshot. One young woman suffered a traumatic injury. Alexsis Winterhalter was in the mall when the shooting happened and managed to flee to safety in the parking lot. She joins “Stating Point” to share her frightening experience.

Winterhalter says after yesterday’s shooting she is still recovering, shaken up and in disbelief that the shooting occurred in “the community [she has] grown up in [her] whole life and the mall that [she has] been into hundreds of times with [her] friends and family.”

Winterhalter who was getting her hair done in the basement of the mall says as the beautician was blow-drying her hair she “heard a very loud noise that sounded like the ceiling was falling through… and the gunfire was going on long enough that we had time to stop and say ‘what is this noise’ and we realized …that’s a gun.” Winterhalter adds the hair salon receptionist noticed people “scattering and running everywhere.” She goes on to say that after fleeing she and others ended up hiding behind a dumpster for a few minutes and later in the parking lot where they hid behind cars.

When it comes to time, Winterhalter says, “when you’re in the situation everything seems like slot motion. So for me it felt like it took a while but looking back at tit I heard sirens almost instantly.” In addition to the sirens she describes seeing multiple police cars and unmarked cars surrounding the area. She adds that she was “very impressed by how fast and how many of them there were.”

After reaching home, Winterhalter says she was able to use social media to verify that all her loved ones were safe and unharmed; including her best friend who says the shooter brushed passed her while she was shopping in Macy’s.

Filed under: Crime • Holiday shopping • Mall • Shooting
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