When the shooting erupted at a Colorado grocery store Monday afternoon, two teenage girls hid in an upstairs coat closet for an hour before police rescued them, their grandfather said.
The girls were at the King Soopers in Boulder with their dad, who was getting a Covid-19 vaccine shot, the grandfather, Steven, told NBC affiliate KUSA of Denver.
“There was shooting, and he saw it and got the girls down. They ran and hid upstairs in a coat closet for an hour, in the coats,” he said. “They were communicating with my daughter through his phone, texting, and then the cops came in through the roof and were protecting them.”
The girls, 13 and 14, escaped through the back of the business, Steven said. He said he talked to the youngest and she was acting strong.
“It’s traumatizing, too, for them,” he said. “I’m really concerned for their mental and emotional health. But they’re great kids, and they’re super solid. and they have good parents. But this is going to be a hurdle to get over.”
Ten people, including a Boulder police officer, were killed in the shooting.
A suspect, who was injured, is in custody, and there is no ongoing threat to the public, officials said.
Steven said he was so grateful that his family members were safe, and he called for what he termed better gun control laws.
“This has got to stop,” he said. “Every week — every week in the United States there’s a shooting. Now it’s our turn. And that should never be repeated anywhere.”
“You know, every city is susceptible. But there’s a way in which I would think that, ‘Well, this wasn’t going to happen in Boulder,'” he said. “And now we know better.”
Phil Helsel is a reporter for NBC News.