Survivors of the Sutherland Springs massacre gave eyewitness accounts of how they watched in terror as the shooter methodically targeted crying children and helpless families.
Rosanne Solis and Joaquin Ramirez, who were sitting near the church’s entrance, recounted the carnage that followed when the black clad gunman entered First Baptist Church, yelling for death and targeting crying infants, children calling for help, and those who moved to seek cover under pews.
“I hear firecrackers popping. Ta-ta-ta,” Solis told KSAT-TV. “Everybody started screaming, yelling. Everyone got down, crawling under wherever they could hide. It was so scary.”
“Everyone was saying ‘Be quiet. It’s him. It’s him.’ Then he yelled out, ‘Everybody die (expletive),’ and he started shooting again,” she added.
Ramirez and Solis said the gunman walked up and down the aisle, shooting crying infants and children point blank, and going after those who were trying to evade death.
“He went in there and he made sure everybody was shot. He even went up the stairs, and he was shooting from the balcony,” Margaret Vidal, Solis’ niece, told WSJ her aunt told her.
“He went up and down the aisle. If he saw you moving, he was going to go back and hit you,” Brittani Vidal, another niece of Solis, said.
Farida Brown, 73-years-old, also recounted the terrifying moments when the gunman slaughtered the woman next to her, according to The Wall Street Journal. Brown was sitting in the last row of pews when she heard the Sunday School teacher sitting next to her scream for everyone to get down. Brown dropped to the floor as the bullets sprayed and prayed for her life.
“The shooter was making his rounds, and he ended up there and started shooting this lady multiple times,” David Brown, Farida’s son, told KENS-TV. “And the lady looked at my mom the whole time, and my mom was looking at her and telling her, ‘It’s OK, you’re going to go to heaven. You’re going to go to heaven,’ and then she knew it was her turn to be shot, and so she just started praying that God would take her soul to heaven.”
Witnesses said the shooting stopped when something at the door appeared to distract the gunman, which Farida said she thinks was Stephen Willeford, the man who shot and pursued the gunman.
“I don’t think my mom would be here right now if he [Mr. Willeford] didn’t show up when he did,” David Brown told WSJ.
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