An 8-year-old girl who found herself caught up in the middle of the mass shooting in Buffalo at the weekend has told how she hid in a cooler to escape the gunfire.
According to reports, little Londin Thomas went to Tops Friendly Market, Buffalo with her mother and father on Saturday to get supplies for a cookout.
Londin said: “We were buying some cake mix for my mama. She did not know. She was at the meat section so we could grill.”
— Stephanie Duprey (@WHEC_SDuprey) May 15, 2022
Yet with Londin and her father on one side of the store looking at cake mixes, and her mom on the other side grabbing bits for their dinner, shots suddenly rang out.
Lamont Thomas, Landin’s dad, explained: “They never stopped. You just gotta think, I know I’m not in this situation that I thought I’d never be.”
The father and daughter fled to the back of the store and hid in a cooler. Lamont covered Londin’s mouth with his hand.
“People say I’m a very brave girl,” Londin said.
Meet 8-year-old Londin Thomas. She hid in a cooler with her dad during the mass shooting at Tops on Saturday.
She told me:“People say I’m a very brave girl.”
— Olivia Proia (@OliviaProia) May 16, 2022
“We went to the back of the store where the milk is. The door was locked and we could not get out until the manager opened the door. Then we had to go out the back door. We had the cops lead us out,” Londin said.
Londin’s mom Julie Hartwell, meanwhile, was surrounded by milk bottles when bullets began to fly.
“My first instinct was dropping down to the floor and crawling on my chest,” she said.
“Not really trying to put my head up, not really trying to look at anything. I was just trying to get somewhere safe. But at the same time, I’m worried about my daughter.”
Naturally, Londin was terrified at being separated from her mother.
“I was scared for my mom. I did not know what happened to her because she was in the front and I was in the back. I didn’t know where she was. I thought she was gone,” the 8-year-old said.
All told, Londin and her father were apart from her mother for 20 minutes.
“20 minutes later they gave me my daughter,” Julie said. “That was the most longest wait I’ve had in my life.”
18-year-old suspect Payton S. Gendron of Conklin, New York was arrested at the scene of the shooting, and has since revealed that he had been planning his attack for months.
According to CNN, Gendron had selected a particular ZIP Code in Buffalo due to the high percentage of a Black population close to where he lived.
18-year-old Payton S. Gendron of Conklin, on one count of Murder in the First Degree. pic.twitter.com/hlZu3hWsLk
— Dan Schrack (@DanSchrack) May 15, 2022
The teenager said that he had visited the Tops Friendly Market a total of three times on March 8 to survey the layout and get an idea for what times of day attracted the most customers.
Gendron is currently under suicide watch after pleading not guilty to a first-degree murder charge. 10 people died in the attack.
Rest in peace to all those who lost their lives during the cowardly attack in Buffalo.
Thank God that Landin and her family were able to escape unharmed.
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