WalMart Shooting glazed over in the news - St. Louis, MO

Yesterday, my wife was inside WalMart in South County - St. Louis, MO. 03-SEP-2022.

Shots rang out INSIDE the store. 8 of them total. Specifically. 2, then 3 then 1 then 2.

She doesn’t conceal carry, and is smart enough to know to go AWAY from the sound. (She doesn’t carry… yet… but you STILL GO AWAY from the sound, even armed. That firearm is to protect, not go on offense with like a ■■■■■■ cowboy in a movie - granted, if it is in your presence or immediate surroundings, things would be different).

There was the panic, the screaming, etc… People running…

Understand that my wife has medical (COPD) and physical issues (Bad Knee), and usually uses those little scooters in the store… so there is no “Running” for her.

I can tell you this, boys and girls… you never want to be woke from a dead sleep by your phone, and the first thing you hear is your spouse in a panic, hyperventilating, saying “They’re shooting”.

My first thought was I’M Panicking and I have to reel myself in a bit. -I- couldn’t panic (altho I was inside) I had to be the calm one. I had to be factual, stern, and in control of my emotions. Short, pointed questions, focus on yes/no… don’t make her talk more than necessary, etc… Short, to the point, take the emotion out of it. all these things ran thru my head in about 0.05 seconds…

This is how the conversation went:

Her: “they’re shooting”
Me: “Where are you?”
Her: “Walmart”
Me: “Wherever the sound came from, go the other way. Do that now.”
Then I had to address the hyperventilating.
Me: “You HAVE to slow your breathing down. Where is your rescue inhaler?”
Her: “I don’t know I don’t know I don’t know”

Pure, unadulterated panic…

Me: “You have to focus… get away from where you heard the sounds and slow your breathing down”
Her: “I’m trying”
Me: “Ignore the pain (I knew the Knee would be killing her) just move. You will be okay. Just keep moving.”
Her: “It’s a dead end, there is nowhere to go”

Now here, I want to express the fact that panic is a traumatizing thing and makes you see/think differently… you see the end of the aisle, and assume it is a dead end, but at the end there is at Least a right or left… there are no “dead end aisles” and that is by design (in fact, I don’t think there are any “dead end aisles” allowed by law in a store, but I I could be wrong, and I digress). But she was panicked, and panicked bad.

Me: “There are no dead ends, keep moving away from where you heard the shots. Work on slowing your breathing down… in nose out mouth”

At this point, I knew there was no way of her slowing her breathing down short of a brown paper bag… and we ain’t got the time for that… I knew panic had set in and set in hard… My thought was to keep her getting away, but cognizant of the Need to slow her breathing, not necessarily just doing it right then and there… which led me to the rescue inhaler I’d not gotten the answer to…

Her: “Im scared”
Me: “I know, I would be too… just keep moving, ignore the pain… where is your rescue inhaler”
Her: “Purse”
Me: “Do you have your purse, or did you leave it”
Her: “I have it”
Me: “Okay, thats awesome, good job… Just keep moving, we will get you that inhaler as soon as you’re safe”
Her: “I dont wanna die I dont wanna die I dont wanna die”
Me: “You’re not gonna die, you will be fine, just keep moving. focus on moving away”

Here there was a lull that seemed like it took forever, and all I heard was her breathing entirely too hard, but I had to trust she was doing as instructed, and talking while in an active shooter situation would only draw attention… But, I couldn’t help it…

Me: “Hows it going?”
Her: “theres someone here”
Me: “Who”
Her: “Walmart girl”
Me: “Go to her, listen to her, do as she says”

Turns out she was hesitating because she didnt know who to trust in her panicked state… and the walmart employee was keeping quiet and gesturing to my wife - not yelling at her… which may draw attention… smart, actually…

The walmart employee got her out the back of the building thru an emergency exit.

She got out, stopped, and did the rescue inhaler… twice…

By then police had arrived. (pretty remarkable, actually… their response was very swift… County got there first, happened to be in the area, apparently).

That whole conversation took 4 minutes and 12 seconds.
Seemed like an hour to me.

If you have gotten this far, thank you for your attention… but there are couple other things I want to make note of:

  1. The Mainstream Media didn’t cover it that day. There were no helicopters, no on-site coverage… The next morning, they mentioned in passing that there was ONE shot fired OUTSIDE the building. This is a blatant lie. Why? That is up for you to decide… This isn’t the thread for judgement, this is the thread for Improvement.

  2. As harrowing as this was, we ALL need to Learn from this. Including me.

This has had me second-guessing myself, my decisions that morning, even the decision to take a nap while my wife just went to walmart… My decisions on prioritization of subject conversation, everything.

I Question Everything, it only makes you better. Im like the 2 year old that can’t stop asking “Why?” but only to learn and get better.

So, re-read the conversation, think about it, and tell me what I could have done differently or better… good or bad… I don’t give a ■■■■… all opinions are welcome… wanna know why?

This is something that doesn’t happen to everyone in their lifetime, and I call those learning moments… and if anyone (including myself) learns from this, it does nothing but help anyone else who, god forbid, ever got in a situation like this.

My wife is doing okay… still showing signs of a traumatic event (can’t sleep, still hears the gunshots kind of thing) but shes alive… thank god… Im okay. I think I handled it fairly decently, altho I do second guess myself especially with her breathing… and the priority I put on it.

While this may not be a Conceal Carry Event, that doesn’t mean its not an Event I experienced that we all may better ourselves for.

I appreciate any and all advice, and hope this thread may help anyone picking up that phone not expecting a situation like that.

Thank you. Be Safe.

-G

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Thx God, all ended well.

That is a good lesson for all of us and another prove, that running away from gun shots in such situation is the smartest idea.
Help yourself, help your Family and remove as much people as possible from the area.
Even you carry the firearm, there is nothing more you can do. Analyze the situation, find the best and fastest way out, help people around you to escape.

Kudos to you for talking your wife out and help her to go the safety ! :+1:
Everything we see on training videos and practice during the classes has nothing common with the stress we can experience facing real shooting situation.

Once again-> Well done ! :clap:

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Looks pretty good to me:
You took her physical and perceived mental state into consideration when giving instructions.
You didn’t Demand answers.
Great instructions “Get Away from the sound. We’ll deal with the inhaler.”

That’s some scary stuff right there, I Hope you both come out of it OK.

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@Gonzo
Great job. you remained calm on the phone which in turn kept her calm. I commend you for saving your wife’s life. She also did a great job by listening and I thank God she is fine and nothing happened to her. This was a traumatic event for her but you just take care of her and give her all the love she deserves. Myself and my wife will be praying for you and your wife.

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I am so glad everything ended well for your wife.
You did all you could. Staying calm to give instructions is very important and from what I read you did very well.
Kept the instructions clear and to the point.

Thank you sharing this.

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How many people were shot? How many dead? Unless those numbers are attention grabbing, the news is unlikely to pay attention most days.

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I believe you did a great job, especially over the phone.:sunglasses::+1:
I can’t believe she actually ran into a Walmart employee, they are never around when you need help finding something.

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Thanks for sharing.

I can’t think of anything else that you could’ve done better due to the distance between you and your wife.

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Just reading what happened got my heart pumping. I think you did what was best to get your wife out safely.

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I’m glad that you were able to keep your wife focused and calm through it all. Great job on your part. I’m also glad that she made it out okay.

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Kudos to both of you, teamwork and communication. During your conversation I felt an adrenaline dump but no panic until it seemed to your wife that there was no way out.

This is an awesome lesson for everyone to learn their stores, entry and exit, fire alarms, extinguishers, axes, hoses, ( they make great diversionary and possibly lifesaving tools ), be aware of the location of first aid kits and AED equipment, ignore alarms on exit doors, it’s also worth asking employees questions, regarding unmarked exits on a normal outing. Like behind the butcher, pharmacy, employee only doors and trash exits, they don’t mean squat, ( as far as I know they can’t be locked during normal business hours, doesn’t mean they are not! ) when law enforcement is 4 minutes out!

No need to second guess yourself or what if’s, that’s what we do here, obviously everything you did was perfect and everyone you care about is home safe!

The only second guessing would be whether she acquires a concealed carry license and a brand new shiny peace of mind!
It will be a comfort and possible life saver had it actually been ( bad choice of words ) a “dead end” !

I’m no doctor, but if you start losing sleep or are unable to function get help! You didn’t mention if paramedics arrived or whether or not she was offered assistance or counseling at the scene?

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@Gonzo Very scary situation, but you and your wife did great teamwork, and pulled it thru, but yet how unfortunate on what we have to go through as we try to live our way of life in the mids of all the crazy, senseless crime going on across the country. Continue staying safe!

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Job well done! I would be happy to have you around with me and my family if things went sideways. I’m so glad things worked out for you.

I agree with your approach of making everything that happens a learning experience. You are in the best place to rethink what you did and find ways to improve your response.

I want to respond to you second guessing taking a nap when your wife went to the store without you. First, at the end of the day, she didn’t get hurt. I put that in the win column. Second, I personally think we have to live our lives and not be so concerned that bad things are going to happen that we don’t live our lives. We never eliminate risk. We manage it.

Thank you for sharing this. I know a lot of “gun” people who don’t think these kinds of things through. You kept a level head and gave us all a taste of what you went through for our own improvement. You make us all better by sharing this.

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Thank you everyone for the kind words.

As I stated, I simply wanted this to be a learning experience I could share with everyone and if anyone could add to it, so much the better for us all.

My wife is doing okay. She didn’t sleep much at all for the next couple days, but she is doing better. Her knee is about the size of a grapefruit. Apparently running caused the Osteoarthritis in her knee to gather fluid at her knee, and that is where the pain is coming from. Visited the doc, and after looking at the x-rays, he said Ice and Elevate is about all she can do.

Amazingly, she is more mad at the news not covering it accurately than I thought she would be. (Myself, I am not surprised, I despise the mainstream media). As they covered it “there was one shot outside”. That is a blatant lie. There were Eight shots, inside. If there were any outside, she didn’t/couldn’t hear them.

We spoke about her taking the classes to get her CC Permit, and we are both going to sit down and watch some of these videos the USCCA offers here to get her a little more familiar with everything involved with carrying a firearm. Wouldn’t hurt for me to watch them either, I may pick something up I didn’t know after all these years of carrying.

Thanks again,

-G

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Like the play by play. Well done post.

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Thank you, Gonzo, for taking the time to post this instructive narrative. You are quite correct that most of us will never experience something like this but we can all learn something from it. Again, Thank you and hope your wife is able to overcome her PTSD.

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As to the PTSD: You both suffered a traumatic experience. You should go and talk to someone. Do not keep this inside, and do not believe that this is not serious. This is easily a life altering event, and you need to treat it as such. It will return … in your sleep mostly. But if while awake, then it can become an overwhelming situation.

It is not uncommon to relive the event. It is also not uncommon for it to take on a life of its own. She might easily begin to add details that really were not there. It is a normal part of PTSD, that is if you can cosider any part of PTSD normal.

Find someone who specializes in this and go see them. Perhaps it maybe best to go seperately as people tend to feel anxious about sharing their feelings. Just do not ignore this.

She was in fear of her life. You were in fear of her life too. That is one of the worst things you can experience.

She felt helpless to save herself.
You felt helpless to save her. That is a defining moment in a relationship and left alone can destroy that relationship, as well as the possiblity of any new relationships to come.

Look for the clear signs of PTSD. She may not want to go to Wal-Mart ever again. Loud noises may provoke that feeling of helplessness. A distrust of people may arise too. She may start retreating inward to herself, and without the proper help, may loose herself in her thoughts and dreams.

She may even begin to not want to sleep at all for fear of reliving the event. The same can happen to you. The detail that you shared tells me that you have already spent considerable time with your part of the situation.

Do not underestimate the seriousness of what she went through. Remember that she has lived through an “Active Shooter Event.” Many people do not live through such a situation, and the media seems to exist to remind everyone of that fact, by focusing on those who were either shot or killed.

You are angry that the media did not give much time to this. Think about that statement. You are angry! You need to deal with that anger. Anger is a very powerful emotion. So is fear. Combined they will overwhelm the strongest of our most heavily trained fighting men.

And you might want to hold off for a little while on purchasing a gun. At least until you both come to grips with your fear.
If you do purchase a gun, get real trainning with it. And not just a “get your Carry Permit in one hour” either. A good instructor can help you there, but only after you deal with what is happening inside your heads about this.

Be very careful here. This can become something serious without you even realizing it.

See some one? Please?

You did well to get this far. Don’t stop now. Finish the course.

Best of luck to you both.
Dr. Daniel R. Thomas

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Prayers for @Gonzo and his wife to get back to normal in this sometime unjust world we live and love in.

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From your description of the event I think you did a good job giving intelligent advice to your wife.
I really dislike it when my wife has to travel without me anywhere to protect her.
Currently where we live the most likely danger to everyone is the amount of crazy Utah drivers!
My wife does carry and she is a good shot, especially with her customized AR that I bought her but she REALLY Needs to practice more with her air weight .38spl
I really need to spend more time live firing my edc Glock instead of so much laser practice at home. I used to blow through hundreds of rounds before ammo prices went crazy.
We all need to be aware, keep training and be there for our loved ones.
That crazy demonic shooter in Memphis yesterday who was posting on FB live while shooting people just really pissed me off!
I was praying for a good guy with a gun or God to hit him with a bolt of lightning!
Anyway, Blessings and Safety to everyone on this thread!

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YOU DID FANYASTIC, in an IMPOSSIBLE SITUATION!!! YOU kept a level head, and gave your Wife Great
Instructon and kept her focused. You also kept her from s FULL PANIC ATTACK.
Stay Safe & Stay Healthy

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