On Monday afternoon, Sarah Moonshadow was shopping for groceries with her son when a gunman opened fire. Ten people were shot and killed in Boulder, Colorado, while she was inside King Soopers supermarket. One of them was police officer Eric Talley, who arrived at the scene first. Moonshadow said she timed the shots in order to determine when to flee for safety.
In an interview with Good Morning America on Tuesday, Moonshadow described the events leading up to the deadly mass shooting. She recalled that she had only been planning a quick supermarket trip, but ended up perusing around a bit. "At first I was kind of kicking myself, like, if we had left a little bit sooner maybe we could have avoided things," she said. "But then I realised that we probably could've been in a lot bigger trouble had we left any time sooner, because when we had gotten out of the store, there were people lying in the street."
As soon as she heard gunfire, she shifted her focus to protecting her son, trying to conceal him and stop him from moving around too much, and paying attention to where the sound of gunfire was coming from. "I just looked at my son and I told him — by the fourth shot I started counting — and I told him, 'We have three seconds. Stay low and don't look. And just move fast,'" she said.
Moonshadow was only one of dozens of shoppers who were at the scene when an unidentified gunman opened fire on Monday afternoon. At 2.49 pm, the Boulder police department put out a Twitter warning about an active shooter at King Soopers, telling all residents to avoid the area. For at least 30 minutes after, officers reported a shooting stand-off with the gunman before they were able to take the suspect into custody.
"I promise ... we will secure justice and do everything we must do to get justice in this case," Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty said in response to the violence.
In the hours after the shooting, several survivors recounted the terror that occurred inside King Soopers. Anna Haynes, the editor-in-chief of the University of Colorado's CU Independent, said she witnessed the shooter enter the supermarket from her apartment window. "I saw the gunman himself holding a semiautomatic rifle. On his way to the entrance, [he] had turned around and was shooting rapid-fire at one particular target. ... And then he turned around, he entered the building through the handicap entrance," Haynes told CNN. "A few seconds later, I saw people running out of the building, I heard screaming, I heard people leaving in their cars, and it just evolved into chaos within just a couple of minutes."
Ryan Borowski, who was inside the store during the shooting, described hearing three gunshots and running with another terrified shopper to the back of the store. "The employees in the back of the house didn't know what was going on, so we told them that there was a shooter, and they told us where the exit was," he said.
The shooting occurred less than a week after a white man killed eight people at three Atlanta massage parlours, and just a day after another gunman opened fire at a Philadelphia "pop-up" event. Police say they are continuing to investigate the deadly attack and have released information that the shooter is a 21-year-old man from Denver. They have not yet disclosed the gunman's identity or motive.