'It was surreal;' mall-goer recounts nightmarish experience

'It was surreal;' mall-goer recounts nightmarish experience
This Instagram picture was taken by Daniel Martinez as he was trapped inside Clackamas Town Center.

CLACKAMAS, Ore. - Daniel Martinez had just sat down at Jamba Juice inside Clackamas Town Center when suddenly he heard rapid gunfire.

He turned around and saw a masked gunman wearing dark clothing about 10 feet away.

Instantly, the 22-year-old Hood River man said he knew the enormity of the situation, as others frantically ran by or dropped to the ground. One man grabbed his infant from a stroller and fled into a nearby store, Martinez said.

“I just saw him (the gunman) and thought, ‘I need to go somewhere,’” Martinez said. “It was so fast, and at that time, everyone was moving around.”

Martinez ran to the nearest clothing store. As he ran, he motioned for another woman to follow; several others ran to the store as well, hiding in a fitting room.

Martinez said he and others hid in the fitting room for about an hour. In the meantime, SWAT officers combed the mall, telling groups of people to stay where they were because the gunman hadn’t yet been apprehended, he said.

After an hour and a half, police told the group they could leave the mall. Martinez said he walked an older woman to her car before heading to his vehicle.

“People were calm,” Martinez said. But “when they were escorted out, there were a lot of people crying and some people were very angry.”

Tuesday evening, he said he’s still sorting through the gravity of the situation and feels fortunate he got out safe.

“It was very surreal,” he said. “It was like, ‘Is this really happening?’”

Martinez posted a photo Tuesday evening on his Instagram page taken inside the mall following the shootings. “What an experience,” Martinez wrote. “My condolences go out to everyone.”