‘Saved Our Lives’: Store Associate Hid Customers In Bathroom Closet Before Being Fatally Shot By Gunman

[Screenshot/CBS NEWS Texas]

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A survivor of the mass shooting at a Texas mall Saturday has credited a selfless store associate for saving the lives of customers before being fatally shot by the gunman.

Racquel Lee, 33, was shopping at the Allen Premium Outlets May 6, when gunman Mauricio Garcia entered the H&M department store and began his deadly rampage, CBS News Texas reported. Thanks to the quick-thinking of a store associate, Lee and a dozen other customers found themselves corralled to safety inside the store’s bathroom closet, the outlet stated.

“It sounded like a war zone. It was horrifying and it felt like you were in a dream,” Lee told the outlet.

Lee described the scene inside the bathroom closet as one fraught with terror as she and the other customers, some of which were children, sought to remain quiet so they would not be detected by the shooter. Lee told CBS News she and others attempted to call 9-1-1, but found they couldn’t dial out.

“I remember thinking that he’s coming in here next, and I was hoping we didn’t get hit by a bullet. Then the store associate saved our lives,” Lee said, before breaking down in tears.

CBS News reported that Lee and others were later escorted from their hiding place by sheriff’s deputies. It was at that moment, Lee was able to identify one of the dead bodies on the ground in the store as that of the store associate who led them to safety, telling CBS News she had sacrificed her life to save theirs.

A total of 9 people were killed in the shooting, including Garcia – while another seven were injured. While authorities have not yet released a motive for the shooting, investigators have indicated that Garcia espoused extremist views on social media, CNN reported. (RELATED: ‘Why Are We Asking’: MSNBC Guest Wonders Why It’S Necessary For Police To Take On Gunmen)