In the moments before a gunman opened fire in Clackamas Town Center, Allen Fonseca and Jocelyn Lay were clerk and customer.
But after Tuesday afternoon's deadly shooting, the Vancouver man and Milwaukie woman have developed a close friendship.
"We are bonded forever, heart to heart. Because we've been through something you literally realize this could be the end," Lay said.
Lay was picking up products at the Lancome counter in the Macy's department store when the first gunshots were fired. They huddled near the cash register, trying to hide from whoever was shooting.
"Your mind just kinda starts going, 'OK, this could be the end.' So I just started praying. I called out to the Lord to protect us and watch over us and watch over those people in the mall," she said.
The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office said Jacob Roberts, 22, ran through Macy's and began firing a semi-automatic rifle in the food court area.
Roberts, who was wearing a mask, fatally wounded two people and critically injuring a teenage girl, before taking his own life in the shopping center.
Fonseca said he spotted the masked shooter near the store's fragrance section after the first round of gunshots.
"I saw that he was heading back into the mall area, that's when I told Jocelyn we needed to get moving and go to a safer place," he recalled. "I told her she needed to trust me. And she asked me if she could trust me."
"Because I was like, 'if we stand up, we're going to be vulnerable.' I said ‘are you sure, are you sure?' He says ‘yes, trust me, trust me,'" Lay said.
"So then I took her downstairs and we evacuated," said Fonseca.
Once the two were safe outside, Fonseca decided to head back into the store to make sure his co-workers and other customers could leave safely. He said many of them, especially on the lower floor, thought the noise and chaos was because of a fire drill.
"This is what he said," Lay said, clearly proud of her new friend. "'Now that I know you're' safe, I'm going to go back upstairs and help other people.' And that's where I just think this young man's a hero."
Fonseca knows he's not the only person who put others ahead of his own safety. Many other people working and shopping at the mall led people to safety. He described watching an older co-worker lead an elderly man outside.
"There are a lot of people who did a lot of good things yesterday and I think that just proves humanity isn't as horrible as we think."
Copyright KPTV 2012 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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