Tom From Pendleton Eyewitness to Cheektowaga Dollar General Shooting

WBEN Extras
Tuesday, November 14th

Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

All right now what this guy says he saw the incident unfold it said Tom in Pendleton a WBP. And Tom give us sort of your story what's gonna. So I'm sitting in the parking lot waiting for my mother and sister to come out of the store. And they see this. Guys black day. As an altercation with a woman in the doorway. Hand. She comes out this story any follows her in the Spitzer again. And she. Was really shook up it's been hurt her. And takes up next Fandango. This guy is walking back towards store where they. A rifle. And. What we're kind of rifle that looked like. Three. Should OK but he is definitely look like a black rifle again like eight yard type. Okay. Were air. She bright but it was a variant like that. Well but it was shooting I think vehicles to turn around oak tree right. So are. There was but gentlemen going into the store. And it's great turns around the mean that gentleman turned around and says the the I with a gun. Like some polite we need to win. But the guy pushes him max's born out of his hand. And pushes them again. And then decade goes around the other vehicle in the front to pick of this phone. And I started hearing gunfire so. I'm thinking I can see where he was shown but the hard to yourself for me the windows got X windows got blown. So let me just like catch everyone up to what your rock claiming you saw you were outside the Dollar General. I waited for failing memory from the shopping. Yes I was sitting in my parent my mother's parents waiting for them to come out. You saw an African American male I get into an altercation with any African American female. No and give them all the cities world white woman to begin with the okay wait Mayo. And one. So your saying that the the person that came back around the corner with a gun was white or black. The the black male who who've gotten the altercation with the white female. Was the one that came back with a rifle. And he was stopped by a white male that came from the store. Don't know whether over the white male was going into this store. And said what are you doing with a gun. Over your shoulder and seeing them. Very approaching him with a gun. Sent so late to win. Right and then who cell phone got knocked out. This war okay his phone got knocked out of the sand. Gunn took a swing at him. And back before nervous then and I thought I mention them but that's really anyways whether we hear gunfire going off. How many rounds did you hear. All. In the beginning probably about six maybe seven but then we pulled around to the side of the building to try to get. Cover them. It was probably 1520 feet in front of me and I'll sit there and it's like we're regular height you write anything it'll turn over you know they. Leaned down underneath the steering column. Record ever get out of here the best they can so I drove around the corner of lady that was next to me she drove around and Reese. Spare the air. And we capturing more and more gunfire. And bad we've heard the police terrorist common. And would probably. Ten minutes later the police were common around the corner so we figured they'd probably say. You know while front again. So we went back out front part and that's what I noticed that he shut the the doors to the front of the Dollar General. You put a bunch around in the bill and the doors. Now you never saw them go in restore. You know with the onslaught chat but we weren't there right did I just told you what I saw us. Did use did you shoot the shooter injured. Any time. No no no because. Also we come around the corner and the pastor gets things started the second driveway if there was still there so they so we must to chase them. And that's when they they caught up with him down the road a little piece. But he wasn't limping or bleeding before that. Although it was it was a perfect physical shape to start where it. And you didn't hear anymore gunshots after that. Know that once he left the scene and they're there to pick up found union. We do we begin here anymore venture. So the only gunshots you heard where was was the assailant shooting at the victim. The only. Wait the only wherever whether the shooter shoot them up just these shipments of the are which human sporadic Leo over its being. And you know it wasn't sure what you wish net until. Did he change a magazine. Didn't see if we were we were back around around the corner when. And how many rounds you think you fired. I. And what was their pauses in between them. We are you know yeah OK I thought I was like he was just. Prospering and well all the it is but it wasn't me it was it was crazy it was like. Well this police. While now this individual Tom in Pendleton who has given us information to police because he is a witness in a a criminal situations so. They are aware of how to get to in touch with him according to Tom in Pendleton so you work. In a vehicle in the parking lot. At the Dollar General. At shore watching a black guy and a white woman are leaving the Dollar General and appeared to have some kind of an altercation. In the doorway when you say altercation. Did the mail strike the female with a fist and at that point. Yeah. Okay because vet and after a few feet as they were further away from the store the mail hit the female again. Did the female go down. Oh. Was it like a fist and punch. It was. A shot over a punch at him orbit show him more of the show was it to the shoulder area to the head area. Propriety. OK so you are seeing this guy and this woman getting into an altercation you witnessed the woman shoved it. Twice she was shot and not punched in the doorway of the Dollar General. But that's way better investor what you wanna call it. Okay but it didn't look like a you know an upper cutter something like that it was more of a shove a poor. At auto as a domestic. Right and but it's Bennett it's one. You just for expressionless it was purring away and. So he. The woman who had been that shoved or you know physically molested by this guy twice and I don't mean in the other sense but she gets into her vehicle and drives away. The male walks to his vehicle and gets a rifle. One rifle. Okay the male gets the two who did you notice anything unusual about the clothing worn by the guy who went back to the car to get the rifle after striking the woman twice. You have. Baseball. Let me apply it. Jack that are sure bet you know just a regular. Known there was not then. Out of the appeal from what I saw that the. Nothing to indicate that he was wearing body armor now okay. So the suspect after grabbing air rifle then goes back in the direction of the Dollar General. At which point a male a white male asks the guy with a rifle what are you doing. Is that correct yeah. The guy with a rifle ban should watch it takes a swipe at the guy who asked him what he was doing. Knocking the guy cellphone out of his hand correct. The guy whose cell phone have been knocked out of his hand it goes to retrieve this cellphone by walking behind a car away from the guy with a rifle correct. Okay at what point. Is it deep did you see the guy who had his cell phones like auditors and by the guy with a rifle is he the individual who was shot in the shoulder. I don't know. Back at terminals saying no doubt play away because the there was. An ambulance came there but there was bode was nobody push. And in the store or around the store. So I'm and I'm I'm gonna assume though because that's the thing. So now after we've. Started hearing gunfire. We try to get out of there with some goat with papers. And that's when we heard the rest of us firing. I'm not sure what happened to the guy who got himself pull back out of the hands. The air because beat the chief said the shooting took place outside the Dollar General that's what the assistant chief said today in his in his news briefing. But what you're saying here is very alarming because in total you're telling us that you. Heard twenty to thirty round is going off is that correct. Well could have been fifteen that's what Harada there was it. You know I didn't count but there was there was a lot of a lot of vote. How familiar are you with firearms and what a gunshot sounds like. Well I got to shut got a point to. Okay see you're you're not a novice with firearms you know the difference between a gunshot and a backfired. Or at. The district shell casings were over the over the ground would win after the hole in an event that we just been around. You witnessed the suspects. Playing cars in the parking lot and also putting rounds through the door of the Dollar General is a correct. Shut be shut out one error. That I know. And he put a bunch around in the front door of the the store. So the question is in you're not gonna know the activists was the individual who shot the guy who got a cellphone knocked out of his hand. Or was it to somebody who was in the Dollar General at that point. At no point Tom but you told us where your mother and family members were. You you were waiting for them in the car outside the Dollar General were they inside the Dollar General when this was all going down outside. What did they tell you about what happened inside. My sister told me the what and who get an application. In it this year. And my guess is he will not acquired and the pictures that you have to do would mind. We don't take application this way that's when he's there is that. Quarry to my sister that there I didn't I didn't see any of that I just saw him to persuade probably in the doorway and then block it was. Vehicle for word god. That it be woman in the doorway in that she went into a vehicle and exited before the individual grabbed a rifle. Is it your belief that she was a customer and not employee of Dollar General. As in this whole thing is. It is you know it's pointing more and more in the direction David I think of what could have been a mass shooting major catastrophe in Western New York. When you consider the number of rounds if what Thomas saying is true we have no reason to doubt Tom. This guy it was just indiscriminately spraying rounds everywhere. Now let's just set the stage for those of you just joining Tom was in his -- his mom's car in the parking lot outside of Dollar General union in French about 3 o'clock today. He witnesses a black man leaving Dollar General with a white woman there is some kind of physical altercation where the man made some physical show but or Porsche or possibly punched toward the woman. They continued walking a few feet more for the store at which point the man. Pet a physical altercation of some kind with a woman again. The woman who apparently was a customer Dollar General gets into her vehicle and drives away. The black male goes to a vehicle and gets you rifle and starts walking toward Dollar General. A white man asks the guy hey what are you doing. Seeing a guy approaching a story with a rifle in 2017 he says what are you doing or words to that effect. The guy with the rifle then swipes the phone like Gary it's the phone. Out of the guy's hand the ball ends up landing several feet away from the guy who'd been following the guy with a rifle who then goes behind a vehicle to retrieve. His cellphone. The man with a rifle. Then starts to do what Tom. The supplier of rightful. Asked. I'm not sure worthy. Where he was shooting and the first thing I noticed was when we see. Our two horsepower for me at the windows and windows blown out. So you're trying to figure out where you're gonna duck for cover under the steering column that you find out later from your mother and your sister who were in the store. That the suspect had gone into the store wanting to file a job application which told that that was only done on line. And at that point became argumentative can you give us any more details on what happened inside the store. Not really no I wasn't there if I can your sister or mother I give us a call our originate but. Note. I don't know if you can call them what were done we would certainly appreciate that because we're trying to put this puzzle together as best as we can. And what we're startling about your account is that there were. A low you say a fifteen all the way too high of thirty rounds used say you heard spotted. And when you look at the pictures at the Bauerle ability of FaceBook page you will see a number of indicators. The crime scene people apparently have left there were the brass bell. Upon its discharge your from what we would presume would be very or semi automatic rifle. Our caller says point 223 shells and you know that. I don't I know that yes. Us. I was I accepted the sort of pleased these two who was. Because 223. I wasn't sure knowing neuter and food that it was too soon. You know something. Right in the military they're 556. 223 is this really counterpart after several quick question you that you mentioned. That you decided that you were gonna go to the side of the building. And ended when you've got the side of the building if there was you said there was no real loading so. As far as the at an ammunition that was spent. I didn't see any collateral when he was there on a. OK so but there could have been theoretically the pauses in mentioning. I'm always tell you what I saw I can't pick here. But here. All night job I really appreciate you doing this and by the way I mean that's you're you're lucky to be alive and I think he showed great just. You win your first thought to get outline a fire. It was a very Smart move because hagee state where you were you might have been in the crossfire. Well my first thought was was brought in the guys over at the. They you know what I what I was originality and react if not I wasn't that it would user you don't know what the circumstances but yet no that was definitely an option if it came to it. Are you were in the driver's seat of the passenger seat. Driver's seat pocket earlier you mentioned trying to duck under the story calpers are resigned vision you're sitting in the passenger seat. As far as your mom and your sister in the store or what is going on in your mind you've seen this guy. With a rifle you have seen him fight the rightful. And that he's going toward the store in which you say your mother and your sister were both shopping what are you thinking. Well no I didn't fees going towards the store. With when he started shooting we decided to get out of there. So we drove around the side. And then we kept hearing gunfire. When we went back around the front of the building pepper was all over. That's what I noticed that he shut out the front door. When you say week hedge your mom and sister rated back to the car by them. Beat me in the woman there was parked next to me we both ended up. Alongside each other. Are talking about the situation. Your mom and your sister when that they caught up with you again outside the car can you maybe put us in the picture Rivera because they've just been through quite an ordeal what was said. All my motors early circular she's got to go home she's 940. How much your sister my sister was the one told me that the date payment for application. It was anything said about what they were doing during the time rounds are being fired into the Dollar General. Well my mother says they were at towards the back of the store. So. You know I'm not sure I'm I'm not really sure what. What the year. What they. To what do you attribute you were being so call. Yes. Listen I'm you predict a crazy day. A crazy day and and I think you know we talk all about all the training that people want people who do active shooting training everything else. You did everything that they era teaching us how to do. I mean it was instinctively you did everything the right way you. You've got away from the situation to make sure your loved ones were taking care of what you were in a position to use your car's a weapon that you need to make that choice. Well thank you it's it was a very. Scary. Three or four minutes whatever oil. And I can imagine if elegant attorney Tom if you could please ask your sister to give us a call we would really like to talk to her to help us put this piece together a coach Tom thank you so much. The patient very much Tom and Pendleton.