Saturday, November 29, 2008

Of All the Toys R Us' in the World

You probably heard about the Toys R Us shooting that left 2 men dead on Black Friday. If not, check out this local Palm Spring news channel's website for the latest videos & stories:

http://www.kesq.com/global/story.asp?s=9427148

The thing is: Chad, Keller & I were in the store in Palm Desert, CA as the shooting occurred.

Chad, Kel & I were doing a little Black Friday shopping mid-morning. We had been to the Street Fair and Mervyn's when we spotted Toys R Us. I remembered we had some gift cards and they might go a little further with all the sales. We normally don't shop at Toys R Us -- but it was right across the street and with a gift card -- who says no?

We head into the busy, busy store around 11:15AM. We kindof were taking our time looking at toys, clothes, etc. We were towards the back corner of the store, near the bikes. Chad had gone down an aisle to look at some sport toys and I was standing at the front of the aisle. Kel was in the cart near me. There was a commotion towards the front of the store -- not 20 yards from where I was standing. It sounded like a fight was breaking out. Natural human instinct is to head the direction of the fight to see what it's all about. Chad started walking towards the front -- I saw him. I stayed where I was, but on tip-toe, kindof interested. I didn't see anything except a crowd of people with their attention being drawn to the front of the store. All of a sudden, I see the entire massive crowd turn and in hysteria start charging my way. I didn't know what was happening but grabbed Kel out of the cart because I thought he might be trampled. All of a sudden I heard 'POP, POP'. I ducked behind an aisle holding Kel. I didn't really 'get' what just happened so I looked up and heard another series of 'POP, POP, POP, POP'. A man with a woman in a wheelchair was standing right by me and told me to stay down. All of a sudden the store alarm starts going off because the emergency exits had been opened. I looked down the aisle I was standing in and saw Chad running back towards me, moving a big step ladder out of the way beckoning towards the open door. I stood up and ran with Kel and Chad and we got out a side emergency exit with a huge crowd. It just didn't seem real. Was that really a gun?

We kept making our way further into the parking lot. We stood there a few minutes when the first cop car came screeching in right by us and the cop rolled his window down and said, "Where are the guys who were shot?" We told him the front of the store. He went in with gun drawn as more and more officers arrived. It was just siren after siren. At this point it started to sink in -- We were just witness to a shooting inside a Toys R Us.

I kept going between being scared to death, holding Keller tight, crying in Chad's arms to being so fired up and mad that somebody would endanger my family by bringing a loaded weapon inside a children's toy store that I was ready to kick someone's A@*! We stood in the parking lot for another 10 minutes as more and more officers, fire trucks and ambulances arrived on scene. I was so shaken up, but also wanted to see some justice -- namely an idiot being hauled into the back of squad car with handcuffs. We made our way slowly to our car, still not knowing all the details -- how many people had been shot, was it over a toy or not, etc. We found the car and just decided we needed to get out while we could. Chad just drove. More police cars came flying by us headed toward the store. We were in such shock -- we just drove. We could finally talk about 15 minutes down the road and 2 hours later we finally came off the adrenaline rush.

From the news reports -- the two men, who may have had some past bad blood between them, pulled guns on each other after their girlfriends started fighting. They killed each other.

Even today, the day after, it seems surreal. You replay it in your head a million times. It was by far one of the scariest experiences of my life. I am so, so, so grateful we were safe in the end. You can replay it again and again and say "What if I hadn't been taking my time in the store and was checking out at the time? What if we hadn't been near an emergency exit?" On and on....but we made it.

14 comments:

Chow and Russ said...

Wow... what a crazy black friday experience! We are glad your family is safe.

The Ulrich Family said...

Oh my gosh, Dana, I was seriously getting the cold chills as I read this post. How scary. I'm so sorry. I'm sure you're pretty shook up. I'm so glad you are safe.
Take care!
-Brooke

David and Erin said...

I am SO glad you and your family are ok! What a scary, scary experience. One more thing to be thankful for this holiday season....safe and healthy family and friends.

Cordell and McCall said...

I am sooo glad you are safe! Wow! What a scary experience! I am sorry you had do deal with that! It just goes to show that you never know. I am so thankful you were not hurt!

Jeanine said...

Oh my Marchants! How do you guys always get into these scary out of these world experiences? Remember the burglary in Vegas? I am so glad that you are safe and nothing happened to you. It really makes you think.

Melissa said...

Oh my gosh! Rusty had told me about that shooting and now to hear that you were actually there!! How scary for you guys. I'm glad you are all okay!

Malma said...

Oh my gosh!!! I can't believe it! I'm SO glad you guys were okay and weren't in the middle of it.
It must have been terrifying, but I'm so glad you are all safe!

Jen Cutler said...

Wow, you are brave for Black Friday shopping in California. I was in San Diego over Black Friday, but there was no way I dared brave the crowds. People were getting arrested in Logan for punching eachother out- yes, in Logan! I saw someone get tasered one year in Layton. If stuff like that happens in Utah, then count me out of holiday shopping anywhere else. Yikes, I am so sorry you had to experience that. Glad you are ok! I actually saw that news story as I sat and ate breakfast at the hotel. I seriously can't believe you were there! That just blows my mind. Once again, so glad you guys were ok! Glad Keller was too little to really know what was going on. Hope you two are not traumitized. Take care!

Cameron and Nonie Gay said...

So glad you guys are alright. That's so scary.

Crescent said...

I can't believe you were there when it happened! That is so scary, but I'm glad you guys are okay. Some people are seriously so ridiculously CRAZY!!

Hali said...

WOW! What a surreal experience. I'm SOOO glad you guys are safe and made it out, unharmed. Terrible world we live in sometimes.

Kirk and Kelli said...

We heard about that and We were like what?? A Toy store really? That would be scary but We are glad that you are alright!

Burton & Tiffany said...

I'm sure glad your family is safe....I can't even imagine, especially with Keller! Our family is headed there next weekend...I'm hopefull all the commotion will be done. Someone was watchin' out for ya'll!!!

Ence's said...

That is crazy, I am so glad you guys were okay.