BOISE, Idaho — Five weeks have passed since the Boise Towne Square Mall shooting. On Oct. 25, a man opened fire inside the mall killing two people and injuring others.
"I was absolutely terrified, we are very saddened for the families who have lost loved ones," said Lisamarie Sumares, one of the shoppers at the Boise Towne Square Mall on the day of the shooting.
When shots were fired in the mall, and everyone ran for cover, Sumares was at the mall with 87-year-old Laird Hansen. She is Hansen’s caregiver, but they are also dear friends, who often go to the mall to get some exercise.
"Laird and I love to take walks on days where it may be a little too hot, too cold, or rainy. We like to continue the exercise that we do, but we prefer to do it at the mall. For caregivers, the mall is a savior on those day," Sumares said.
While walking by Macy’s, Sumares decided to stop at the restroom and left Hansen on a bench nearby to wait with his walker. That’s when Hansen first heard the gunshots, and people started to flee the area.
"Oh yeah, I heard the gun. It was down a ways, but it wasn't very far," Hansen told KTVB. "Well three shots. That's about it. I think it was three. I heard boom, boom, boom!"
Hansen is a retired Air Force Colonel, and he knew exactly what he was hearing. In all the chaos, some mall kiosk workers spotted Hansen sitting on the bench and they told him it was time to get out of there. Hansen didn’t want to leave Sumares, but the workers would not take no for an answer.
"They said, you come with us," said Hansen. "I had to leave, no doubt about it."
A few minutes late, Sumares returned from the restroom. She hadn’t heard anything and had no idea what happened.
"I came out and Laird was not there," said Sumares. "Then, I noticed that there was no one there. I looked around and I saw that the gates were down on the stores, and I thought, am I in the Twilight Zone? It's 2 o'clock, why are the stores closed?"
Then Sumares learned of the shooting and she began to panic. She couldn’t find Hansen anywhere. She evacuated the mall and looked around the crowd for Hansen, but she couldn’t find him.
"I left the mall and got in my car, and made the worst phone call a caregiver could give to a family, and that was to tell them, I can't find your dad, and there's been a shooting here and we've been evacuated," Sumares said as she started to tear up. "I continued to drive around the mall, and I was asking groups of people, have you seen a tall elderly gentleman with a blue walker?"
Eventually, someone said yes.
"He said yes, I just put him a van! I said are you kidding me? And he said no," Sumares said. "There was a gentleman and his son in that van just keeping him safe. I drove right up to the van and I saw Laird's little face. I jumped out of my car, and I ran to him and said Laird! He yelled Lisamarie! It was the happiest meetup you ever want to witness, really!"
They followed the story on the news for a few weeks, and then they decided it was time to go back to the mall. They wanted to try to get back to their normal routine, even though the scary experience of being there that day was still fresh in their minds. That's when something really special happened.
"We sat down on the couch, and these people came up to Laird. They said are you ok? How are you? They told me, we are the ones who took Laird outside! I was so happy to meet them, they were so happy to meet me and so happy to see Laird," Sumares said. "We took pictures, we talked about it."
Sumares even learned that the workers had carried Hansen out of the mall on the day of the shooting.
“They lifted him up and took him out because they knew that he wasn't going to be able to walk fast enough,” Sumares said.
"I've gotta thank them immensely for that. They were really cool-headed fast-moving guys, and they knew what they were doing!" Hansen said.
Sumares and Hansen want to say thank you to the kiosk workers who they now consider friends.
"They are just the kindest people. In this day and age, to look beyond yourself for others' safety, these people are angels," said Sumares. "They don't want to be recognized; they did this because they are amazing people. They are unique and we love them!"
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