‘Everyone was running:’ Witnesses describe scene inside Thornton Walmart when shooting occurred

THORNTON, Colo. -- Three people were killed in a shooting at a Walmart on Wednesday night, the Thornton Police Department said.

People inside the store at the time of the shooting described being scared and in shock when the shots rang out.

"I didn’t see it, but I heard shots fired so I grabbed my young boy and my wife and tried running out as fast as we could," one man who was inside the store said. "It seemed like we were running slow but we were hauling out of there.

"It sounded like it was about 50 feet away from me. It was a scary feeling you can't explain."

Employees inside the store described hiding in a back room, under a table for about five to 10 minutes before running out a back door.

Another man inside the store said he was in disbelief when he heard it.

"I heard about five to six gunshots," the man said. "It sounded like an M-80 that went off. I thought maybe this was a prank. We heard three more shots and we knew we had to get out as soon as possible.

"Everyone was running toward an exit. All fire exits were easily accessible. It was a scary experience."

A friend of an employee said she was near the deli section and said the shooter was by the entrance nearby.

"She told me she heard a couple gunshots go off and she hit the ground," she said.

She sounded frantic, heard people screaming for their families and kids, and people telling others to move. She tried to get out as fast as she could.

Virginia Samora, who's 15-year-old son was inside the store at the time, said her son texted her while his phone was on low battery.

"He said 'I’m at 1 percent mom my battery is ready to die but there’s a shooter here at Walmart, if anything happens to me I love you guys' and he pulled his friend out the side entrance," Samora said.

Marcus Smith, who was inside the store at the time, said the doors weren't opening when he tried to get out.

"I was one of the first people there and for some reason these doors weren't opening. I was pushing on them, pushing on them," Smith said. "Another dude comes up and tries pushing on them and they wouldn't open.

"Then a few seconds later you just hear people running right to the exit yelling, 'He's got a gun. He's got a gun.' Screaming and screaming, and my biggest fear is we're all bunched up there and this guy, who knows where he is, could come and just starting shooting people.

"Finally we just keeping pushing the door and it opens up. I have my daughter in my arms and we run out of the door."