Witnesses of a mass shooting outside a supermarket in Boulder have branded the bloodshed, which killed 10, as ‘horrifying’.
One person caught up in the incident on Monday, broke down in tears as she recalled how she couldn’t help others.
Many of the survivors have recounted the terrifying scenes they experienced during the massacre that rocked Colorado.
Andrew Hummel, who was a customer at the store when the chaos erupted, said the ordeal was ‘a truly horrifying experience.’
“I heard a loud bang and then everybody kind of sprinted toward the back of the store,” he told Denver7.
“I didn’t see anything; I could just hear… and I just ran – I just wanted to get out of there. There was so much going on in such a compact area.”
Sarah Moonshadow, 42, another customer and Boulder resident who was in the store with her son, Nicholas, recalled scenes of ‘pandemonium’ as gunfire rang out from inside the store.
“We were at the checkout, and shots just started going off,” she told Reuters. “And I said, ‘Nicholas get down.’ And Nicholas ducked.
“And we just started listening and there [was] just repetitive shots … and I just said, ‘Nicholas, run.'”
She said she tried to go to the aide of a victim she saw lying on the pavement just outside the store, but her son pulled her away, telling her, ‘We have to go.'”
The woman broke down in tears, adding, “I couldn’t help anybody.”
One man who said he was shopping inside the store together with his wife told KCNC-TV that he heard three loud bangs he took for gunshots, before running through the store with other customers to escape through a loading bay at the rear of the building.
He said the shots sounded like they came from the checkout area at the front of the store.
Another eyewitness, Ryan Borowski, told CNN he had only gone to the store to buy a soda and bag of chips [crisps] when he heard several loud bangs inside and began to run.
“We just all ran to the back of the store and out the back door and employees showed us the way,” he said, “and we told the employees what was going on. So, everybody helped each other and we just ran to safety as quickly as we could.”
Asked if he could see where the shots were coming from, he said, “I didn’t see a shooter, I just saw terrified faces running towards me and that’s when I turned and ran in the other direction.”
James Graham said he was checking out at a self-checkout when he started hearing shots.
“I probably heard 30 shots. It was just pop, pop, pop, pop, pop!” Graham told reporters near the scene. “It was the most terrifying event I’ve ever been through.
“I mean, I’ve been through an active shooter drill, but you know, you prepare yourself for that.
“This happened so fast, and it was so loud that… no. Yeah, it was… I’m still in shock over it.”
He went on to say it felt like he was being shot at and the shooting must have happened nearby as he could smell the gunpowder from the shots as he ran from the store.
“Why somebody would do this, I don’t know. It’s just …. I don’t know. Especially in this kind of neighbourhood; I mean, this is kind of a nice neighbourhood where this happens, it’s just unbelievable.”
Another eyewitness, Andy Arellano, said the first thing that came to his mind was his family.
“I was just hearing (the gun shots) and I was just thinking of my family,” he said. “My heart was racing. I’ve never had this kind of like, situation before, you know?”
Ten people have been confirmed dead in the slaughter, and among those slain was the first officer on the scene.
He was named as Officer Eric Talley, 51, described as ‘heroic’ by colleagues and whose ‘life was cut much too short.’
The suspect in the mass shooting has not been named but is currently in custody, and reportedly seriously injured.