Mall employee: 'We were never trained for this'

Mall employee: 'We were never trained for this' »Play Video
Ashley Oakes says she doesn't feel like a hero even though she put the safety of children and shoppers above her own.

CLACKAMAS, Ore. - When Ashley Oakes started working at the clothing store, Wet Seal, she never imagined her duties as co-manager would involve protecting customers.

"We were never trained for this; we were never trained for a mall shooting and so we're like, 'Go into protective mode. We're here to protect our employees and customers, it's not about us anymore," said Oakes who doesn’t feel like a hero but put the safety of children and shoppers above her own when a gunman opened fire Tuesday afternoon at the Clackamas Town Center.

Her store sits about seven shops away from the food court were police say 22-year-old Jacob Tyler Roberts started shooting, killing two, injuring another and then turning the gun on himself.

"There were little kids in our store; there were moms in our store; there were parents in our store – every age was pretty much in our store," Oakes said. "We just told them – about 10-11 people – 'Get to the back, get to the back!'"

Then Oakes and her co-workers raced to the front of the store to lock up.

"(We) looked at each other and we just go, 'The gate, the gate, we have to get the gate,'" she said.

With police then swarming the mall and the shots ending, Oakes thought it was finally safe to step out and that's when she took a photo of a heartbreaking scene.

"They were trying to stop the bleeding," Oakes said. "There was a woman sitting on top of her. I don't know if she was sitting or not, but she was trying to do CPR."

Oakes went back to her store and did everything to keep calm, relaying only certain information until police showed up.

"There're kids. They don't need to be subjected to that," she said.

And then she followed all of her customers as they safely exited the mall.

Oakes said she was just doing her job.

"Just looking at the kids, someone's kids, someone's family, you think of your own family. You would hope someone would do that for you kind of thing."

Oakes said as they were leaving, one person said, 'Thank you for saving my life.' But she still doesn't feel like a hero.

She also spoke about how she's still dealing with anxiety and how going back to work will likely be difficult.