SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — It was a frightening moment most Black Friday shoppers and employees didn’t see coming.
As Cathy Jane and many others were capturing the chaos outside, Annette Knapp and her family were still inside of the mall, just about to sit down at Panera.
“I heard the shots. I was sitting there and I thought no, it can’t be,” said Knapp.
Initially, when Knapp heard the gunshot, she wasn’t convinced it could be true. It’s when she saw people trying to leave the mall as fast as they could, running and screaming with terrified faces, that she knew something was wrong.
“Our reaction was, go. Run with them,” said Knapp.
But they couldn’t leave right away. Annette and her family had to hide in the Panera storage closet and bathroom for more than 20 minutes while police were doing a sweep of the mall before they were able to leave.
“It really reminds you of how fragile your life is. Anything can change in a second,” said Knapp.
It was a shocking moment for many, but it didn’t stop people from lining up on Saturday to shop again.
Emily Schell and Ethan Cramer were both at the mall on Black Friday, but not at the time of the shooting. Even after they heard about the shooting, it didn’t stop them from going back and doing some more shopping.
“It felt like a normal day. I forgot it even happened, I guess,” they said.
Emma Lacelle and Lily Hicks traveled all the way from Canada to shop with their moms for the holiday weekend, and all of them were at Destiny at the time of the shooting.
“We were a little scared but we weren’t that worried because there was more security,” Emma and Lily said.
The people NewsChannel 9’s Adrienne Smith talked to say they’re striving to move forward, understanding something like this could happen anywhere.
“Anything could happen at any point. You realize your life is fragile at that point,” Knapp said.
A gift none of them will take for granted moving forward.
For more local news, follow Adrienne Smith on Twitter @AdrienneSmithTV.