Ordinary heroes amid horror

Ordinary heroes amid horror »Play Video
JCPenney's employee Samantha Dempsey gave refuge to customers in a stock room while a gunman went on a shooting spree inside Clackamas Town Center.

CLACKAMAS, Ore. -- Among the 10,000 people inside Clackamas Town Center during Tuesday’s shooting rampage were ordinary heroes in big ways.

They did simple acts.

A dentist at the mall helping herd customers to a safe hiding spot. Another store employee crowding patrons into a small stock room. And a restaurant serving as a refuge for kids, teaching them how to make pizza.

One of the heroes was Amber Tate. She was shopping when she saw the masked gunman armed with a rifle walk into the mall.

“He looked straight at us, kind of stopped, looked at us and kept walking into the mall,” she said.

Tate had one thought: tell others to stay away by posting a warning on Facebook.

“I immediately said, ‘There’s a gunman in Clackamas Town Center. Don’t go in there,’” she said.

For those inside the mall, JCPenney employee Samantha Dempsey provided refuge to frightened coworkers and customers in the safest spot that came to mind.

“People started screaming … so I turned around, yelled at my associates and said, ‘Go in the stock room. Go! Run! Run,” she said. “And I’m like pushing everybody telling them, ‘Go, go, go.’”

She kept the group in the stock room for an hour, until officers said it was safe to leave.

In the aftermath of the mall tragedy, Dempsey said she would do it again if needed.

“I was scared,” she said. But “my first thought was, ‘We have to keep the customer safe.’”

And some of the heroes tried their hardest to save others, though ultimately it ended up being too late.

When the shots rang out, retired nurse Joan Smith was shopping when she noticed a woman nearby who needed her help. It was Cindy Yuille.

Smith, two other nurses and an emergency room doctor performed CPR and frantically attempted to revive the dying woman.

Still, while they couldn't revive her, the Good Samaritans want Yuille's family to know she wasn't alone.

"She died with dignity, and she died with a lot of care and all the utmost care and help we could give her. And she did not die alone," Smith said. "she did not die alone."
 

Watch Melanie Wingo's interview with two people who stayed with Cindy Yuill: