Witnesses describe ’15 minutes of terror’ inside Rockford bowling alley with gunman

Crime

ROCKFORD, Illl. (WTVO) — We’re hearing from those who were inside Don Carter Lanes at the time of Saturday’s deadly shooting inside the Illinois bowling alley. As the gunman continued to open fire, they hid and feared for their lives.

The quick thinking of these survivors may have been what helped them survive to tell their story.

“It was just 15 minutes of terror,” said Matthew Rider.

Rider and fellow witness Amanda Hollenbeck and Rider say they will never forget the moment they were almost killed.

“The first shot went off and then you heard the other three rounds and it was like right, then and there, it set in for everyone we got to hide and as we were hiding the shots got closer and closer,” said Hollenbeck.

Thinking on their feet, the couple went to hide and called 911.

“We were hiding behind a wooden crate, there was no bullet protection. We were hiding but, you know, people were screaming, people were crying,” Rider recalled. “By this point in time, the second or third round of shots had gone off already. He had started to fire multiple times, five to six rounds at a time. It had to be between a dozen to two dozen shots in total the entire evening.”

Fearing the worst, the couple began calling their loved ones.

“While he was shooting, I was on the phone with my mom. I was like ‘Mom, I love you. There’s an active shooter. I gotta go but I want you know I love you.'”

They say scenes from the shooting will always be imprinted into their memory

“There was blood going all the way out to the parking lot. There was a dead body at the top of the stairs. We had to walk past it.”

The suspect is now behind bars.

The couple adds they will forever be thankful to all of the first responders.

“The second I saw a police officer, I knew that we were going to be okay. They did their jobs and they did it well. I cannot stress it enough. The Rockford Police Department did their job and did well. They saved our lives,” Rider added.

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