Oregon mall shooting witness explains tragedy to News 4

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by Laura Hettiger / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on December 12, 2012 at 5:16 PM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 12 at 5:21 PM

(KMOV) -- To Alexsis Winterhalter, perhaps the only good thing to come out of Tuesday’s deadly shooting in Clackamas is the opportunity she has had to share her story to millions of people.

Winterhalter was getting her hair done at the Clackamas Town Center mall when a gunman entered Macy’s and opened fire on unsuspecting shoppers. She and her hairdresser escaped and hid behind a dumpster in the parking lot for about 15 minutes before Winterhalter’s father picked her up to go home.

After that, she sent out a tweet about the incident: “Was in the mall during the shooting. Got out safe, but one of the scariest things in my life. Could hear a machine gun going off,” she tweeted.

Since hitting send on those 131 characters, Winterhalter has spoken with multiple media outlets across the country including KMOV. Almost instantly, the 18-year-old became a key eye-witness to a deadly crime spree.

However, becoming an “expert” on national news shows was not Winterhalter’s main purpose.

“I knew that people knew I was at the mall and so I wanted to let them know I was safe,” Winterhalter said.

While the University of Oregon student appreciated the media picking up on her tweet, she said it has been more gratifying to see the response on social media in her own community.

As of now, she does not think she knows any of the victims. Perhaps her tweet—and the subsequent media frenzy to talk to her—did something else: maybe it kept her mind off the severity of what just happened in her town.

“It is just shocking,” Winterhalter said. “It still really hasn’t hit me that this has happened here. I don’t live in a scary part of town. There aren’t people walking around getting into trouble. I’ve always felt safe. It’s incredible that this happened here.”

Watch News 4 at 5 p.m. for more from Winterhalter.

 

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