She likened the scene to a battlefield, with bullets flying and bodies dropping.
But she wasn’t a soldier. She was a shopper – 7 months pregnant – in the wrong place at the wrong time, trampled in a panic.
The Toronto woman, who can’t be identified under a publication ban, spoke exclusively to CityNews, recalling the chaos and fear that permeated the Eaton Centre on June 2 when a gunman, alleged to be Christopher Husbands, opened fire inside the mall’s busy food court.
Two people, Ahmed Hassan and Nixon Nirmalendran, were killed. Police believe they were the intended targets.
She was one of five injured, with the life of her unborn child in jeopardy.
“I thought I was going to lose my baby,” she said, recalling how a pleasant afternoon shopping with her teenage niece and seven-year-old son suddenly became a life-altering experience.
Out of nowhere bullets rang out. In the ensuing panic she was pushed to her stomach, losing track of her niece and son, who is autistic.
She tried to crawl to safety. There was “nowhere to run, no one to help.”
“It was impossible for me to get back up that’s why I had to crawl to the corner,” she said.
She started having contractions.
While being rushed to St. Mike’s hospital, she wondered if her baby would survive.
“The baby’s heart rate was (racing) and I just thought that was it.
“I just got on my knees and prayed.”
Doctors managed to control the contractions, and she was released from hospital two days later.
But she’s still rattled by the ordeal, and her blood pressure has skyrocketed to dangerous levels. A month later her back still aches, and she has difficulty walking.
When she met with CityNews reporter Melanie Ng outside the Eaton Centre on Wednesday, it was her first time back at the scene.
“It’s sad that this fear has been put into my life, my son’s life, and the people of Toronto.”
“Just standing in front of the Eaton Centre right now I have to take some deep breaths.”
Her son is due in August.