ROCKFORD, Illl. (WTVO) — We’re hearing from those who were inside Don Carter Lanes at the time of Saturday’s attack. As the gunman continued to open fire, they hid and feared for their lives. Their quick thinking may have allowed them to tell their story.
“It was just 15 minutes of terror,” said one witness Matthew Rider.
Amanda Hollenbeck and Matthew Rider say they will never forget the moment they almost lost their lives.
The first shot went off and then you heard the other three rounds and it was like right then and there it set in for everyone we got to hide and as we were hiding the shots got closer and closer,” said Hollenbeck.
Thinking on their feet, the couple went to hide and called 911.
“We were hiding behind a wooden crate, there was no bullet protection we were hiding but you know people were screaming people were crying,” Rider explained. “By this point in time the second or third round of shots had gone off already he had started to fire multiple times 5 to 6 rounds at a time it had to between a dozen to two dozen shots in total the entire evening.”
Fearing the worst, the couple began calling their loved ones.
“While he was shooting I was on the phone with my mom. I was like ‘Mom, I love you. There’s an active shooter. I gotta go but I want you know I love you.”
They say scenes from the shooting will always be imprinted into their memory
“There was blood going all the way out to the parking lot. there was a dead body at the top of the stairs. We had to walk passed it.”
The suspect is now behind bars. The couple adds they will forever be thankful to all of the first responders.
“The second I saw a police officer I knew that were going to be okay. They did their jobs and they did it well. I cannot stress it enough. The Rockford Police Department did their job and did well. They saved our lives,” Rider added.
We also spoke with a man who says his friend was one of the victims who lost their life. Jamarrion Simmons is devestated by the loss of Jerome Woodfork. Simmons says Woodfork was an avid bowler in the Rockford community and was a regular at Don Carter Lanes.
He described Woodfork as compassionate and caring.
“Jerome was a legend, he was a friend to everybody, he was loved, he was respected, and he was somebody everybody wanted to be like,” Simmons said.
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