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Mom recounts terrifying moments hiding during Texas mall massacre: ‘I can’t die like this’


(ALLEN, Texas) — A mom of two is recounting the harrowing moments she and other shoppers huddled for safety as a mass shooting unfolded at the Allen Premium Outlets in Allen, Texas, on Saturday afternoon.

Racquel Lee told ABC News she was shopping alone when a “spraying” of gunfire rang out.

“I see a woman running in the parking lot, or trying to get to the parking lot. And she’s by our window — and I see her get gunned down,” Lee said.

“All of us were just paralyzed,” she said. “I just remember crouching down. … There was nowhere to run in the store.”

Lee said a store associate then led her and 11 other shoppers to an employee area to hide as the sound of the shots moved closer.

“We’re huddled in this bathroom closet. And one of the men in the bathroom closet was trying to open the door [to get the employee, who hadn’t joined them in the safe area], and we kept begging him not to,” Lee said. “Shots are still going on. So in my mind, we’re next. He’s coming in here, and we’re trying to tell him, ‘Close the door.’ And he said, ‘I have to go get her.’ I didn’t realize [the employee] wasn’t with us.”

“Everyone’s trying to call 911,” Lee said. “No one could dial out and so I connect to WiFi from a store nearby, and I FaceTimed my husband at like 3:40 [p.m.] and I tried to text my family. And I said ‘Please, I love you. I hope you get this."”

She said the group spent at least 90 minutes in that break room, not knowing if the shooting had ended.

“You’re thinking, ‘Oh God, we’re going to be next,"” she said. “I started praying. I was rocking on my knees and praying.”

“Everybody was just kind of having their own moment trying to reach loved ones,” she said. “I’m trying to text my family for what I thought was my last moments.”

Lee said she texted her husband: “Please tell everyone I love them. I can’t die like this.”

Lee said the group of 12 strangers came together to support each other.

“Every shot, you’re just, like, twitching. And I start crying, and someone’s petting my back. Then they start crying, I’m petting their back,” she said. “It didn’t matter what nationality, race, religion, color person you were. It was just everyone … everyone just collectively being in this moment together.”

Law enforcement eventually opened the door and told them to put their hands up and come out, Lee said.

“You just see bodies, bags, blood, bullets,” Lee said. “It felt like a war zone. … I can’t unsee it.”

Eight victims were killed by the alleged gunman, who died after a confrontation with police.

“That’s the hardest — that you survive, that you made it out. But you relive it and you think of faces,” she explained.

Lee said she’s desperate to find the store employee who ushered Lee and 11 other shoppers to the staff room to hide.

“I’m really trying to find the store associate’s family. I’m thinking about how she saved — that’s the part that really upsets me, that I don’t know if she’s alive,” she said.

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