An employee at the Oregon mall where a gunman shot and killed two people before killing himself is being hailed as a hero for repeatedly guiding panicked shoppers to safety.
Allan Fonseca, who works at the Lancome counter at the Macy's department store in the Clackamas Town Center in Portland, used his knowledge of the mall to escort shoppers to safety after gunman Jacob Tyler Roberts opened fire around 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
Fonseca was attending to customer Jocelyn Lay when they heard shots fired. The quick-thinking employee pushed Lay behind the counter, where they both ducked for cover.
"We both just looked at each other and knew this was a serious situation and it was a gunman and we both just dove down below the Lancome counter there for a little protection," Lay told ABC News. "And the gunfire just kept going off."
Lay began praying for God's protection for herself and the other shoppers in the mall. But Fonseca didn't wait for divine intervention. Using his expert knowledge of the shopping center, he led Lay out of the mall to safety.
"He said that we needed to evacuate, and he took me by the hand and he took me down the escalator and out to safety," she said.
Once Fonseca had escorted Lay out of the danger zone, he told her that he was "going back to help other people."
"I felt that if I knew how to get out of the mall and out to safety then I should share that knowledge with everyone else, like the shoppers that don't come here regularly and don't know all the exits," Fonseca told ABC. "So I decided to go back up because I wanted to see if there was anybody in panic or didn't know where to go."
Fonseca then proceeded to evacuate the lower floor of the mall before returning to the level where Roberts was shooting people. His actions are being called heroic.
Lay said she doesn't know what would have happened to her were it not for Fonseca's bravery.
"I probably just would have stayed there and probably would have had a little more fear because it's one of those situations where you've seen in previous shootings, the gunman keeps shooting and keeps looking for different people," she told ABC. "I would have huddled there and hoped and prayed."
Police say that the shooter did not know any of his victims.
"It really was a killing of total strangers," Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts told Good Morning America. "He was really trying to kill as many people as possible."
Roberts told the Associated Press that the rampage "could have been much, much worse" but that Roberts' stolen AR-15 semiautomatic assault rifle jammed during the attack.
Roberts shot and killed two people and injured a third before turning the gun on himself and taking his own life. His victims have been identified as Steven Matthew Forsyth, 45, and Cindy Ann Yuille, 54. Kristina Shevchenko, age 15, was wounded and is hospitalized in serious condition. It was her second near-death experience this year; in August she was a passenger in a car that was involved in a head-on collision.