A witness who was seated next to the wife of the man behind the mass shooting that killed at least three people at a Trabuco Canyon bar recalled the terrifying moment she saw the gunman shoot at her friend.
Betty Fruichantie told NBC4 she and her friend Marie, whom she said is the estranged wife of the gunman, went to the Cook’s Corner bar together on Wednesday. The two were seated near a stage watching a performance from a cover band when gunfire erupted shortly after 7 p.m.
“We were sitting there listening to the band and all of sudden, from behind us, we hear shooting. A bunch of shooting,” Fruichantie said. “I thought it was just firecrackers, she didn’t say anything. People were getting shot. People were getting shot.”
A man says he saw the shooter fire at several people.
Fruichantie said the gunman then made his way toward them and began shooting at them.
“There were other people who didn’t believe it,” she said. “They were just standing there like me, but a lot of people were running, though. When I saw people running, I’m like, ‘Oh my god, I got shot at and I didn’t die. I better run now before I get killed.’”
According to the witness, she said her friend dropped to the floor. It was unclear to her if the woman was struck or if she was ducking from the bullets.
After her initial shock, Fruichantie was able to run to a bathroom and hide there with two others. That’s when she heard even more gunshots.
“When we came out, people were on the floor,” the witness said. “People were over people trying to help them just holding their wounds. It was just awful.”
Authorities provide update on the shooting in Trabuco Canyon, Calif.
According to Fruichantie, her friend had filed for divorce from the gunman and was staying with friends. He was unhappy with the estrangement, which is why he targeted the woman in the shooting, she said.
The gunman, who has yet to be identified, was a former law enforcement officer, three law enforcement sources familiar with the case told NBC News’ Andrew Blankstein. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department said the gunman is dead.
According to authorities, the shooting resulted in four fatalities (including the gunman) and six people being rushed to the hospital. A Providence mission Hospital spokesperson said two victims were critically injured and four others were in stable condition.
The investigation is ongoing.
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