The day started out beautifully. I took my morning walk, and enjoyed the cool Fall morning. I stopped and got my coffee and jumped on the computer. I was waiting for my daughter Rebecca to come over after she got off work, we were to walk to the local Galleria and The Fountain's shopping center to have some girl time. Perhaps look at getting a new sweater or hat. Some girly time in all our favorite stores. Then the phone rang. She told me there was bad news...I braced myself for anything!
She said her supervisor had received an email from the police department to avoid the Galleria area, that there was a gun man barricaded within the mall! I jumped up and turned on the television and sure enough it was all over the news, every local channel had coverage going. I just sat there glued to the TV.Not believing what was happening walking distance, two miles away in our "sleepy" city. Nothing big ever happens in Roseville. You rarely hear the city mentioned past the weather.
Becky soon showed up and we sat together, as everything unfolded . There was every kind of law enforcement surrounding the area. SWAT, Bomb Squad, Fire, Police and EMT's. There was still Mom's with strollers roaming the parking lot, and employees sitting on the grass near by and reporters everywhere. For awhile this is all we saw, as they talked about the suspect. A young, 23-26 year old African American male. He was in the Game Stop and had come in and said his sister had been abducted by Aliens, he had a gun and to get out. He was now barricaded in the store. For the longest time it seemed this was to be the whole story. The run down in the newspaper today was this :
12:10 p.m. Reports are made of shots being fired. Roseville Police later say this was a non-lethal device being used to open a window.
12:39 Mall Sprinklers appear to be controlling the fire.
1:09 p.m Suspect is transported to the city jail. We sit there, watching the smoke, it does not look bad, but we chat about the smoke damage. Then we see the news shots of 1-2 inches of water flooding out of the lower exits of the mall. All we can do is sit there with our jaws dropped and in shock. The amount of smoke and water damage is sure to keep the mall closed for at least a month during clean up...bad timing with the holidays. We , on a shallow level mourn all the things we love in the mall being ruined. The news is still talking about there might be a BOMB in a back pack and they are sending in the bomb squad as soon as they can get things organized so the fire fighters could then go in and begin the containment of the area .The news breaks away when suddenly.....
2:24 p.m A larger fire erupts at the Mall. Police and Fire personal are evacuated from the interior.We just sit in disbelief at what we are seeing!! So much so I do not even think to grab my camera when we go out on the porch to photograph the now billowing clouds of black smoke that are coming from the area. we just sit with our jaws dropped once again as the scenes flash across the TV.But soon I did go back for my camera and take a few shots..the smoke had died down some, but you can still see it in the photos... It would seem they were getting a handle on it. The Firefighters could not get inside, so the fight had to be done from the roof....
Later they thought it was contained enough to enter through the JC Pennies doors..... But soon they found that it was not yet safe to go in as the roof had caved in. This is a photo that surfaced today from inside the JCP store... The story had been covered as much as the news could for the time being. And as the sun set with helocopters still in the distance it left us with a sad , sick feeling and a beautiful sunset.... Later it was reported the Firefighters had gotten in at 5p.m , but had to turn right back around and get out , that the back pack was yet to be retrieved as it was under rubble from the roof falling in.
Rumors and tweets and FB posts abound about the young man and how troubled he had been, how he had been crying out for help for a while now. How he was a suspect in another fire or two in the last day. Odd encounters with him. Interviews with friends, and his Mom...the story became more and more bizarre. I was also told that the story had been showing all over the U.S. A friend in St. Louis saw it on her news. My daughter in Texas found it on hers. A HUGE, 1 million square foot mall , possibly the largest in the Northern California region going up in flames is a big story!
While watching the late night news for the latest, there was more photos of the latest flames that flared up again and again as hot spots continued to erupt . The fire fighters would be there through the night.
I awoke to the sounds of helicopters once again flying in the area above the mall. And the morning newspaper with front page headlines.
If there is a bright note to any of this, it is how the area came together. Emergency and law enforcement agencies from all over Northern California came together. Clean up crews awaited orders , people gathered and supported each other and helped calm fears. The Local Good Will , just down the street from where I live, fed the fire fighters pizza and the salvation army was at the site with coffee and water bottles. We have been hit with a terrible blow. Our "quiet" town of Roseville. Our city depends heavily on the Galleria and the business it brings here. The money it brings in does a lot to keep our city afloat and it is a huge draw from all over. When I think of all the employees and their families and what they will face while the doors are closed....the fear they must be feeling...my heart breaks for them. This will be very far reaching through our community and the region as well.
BUT the Galleria is more than just a building a place of shops , it is a meet up spot for friends and family ( I myself was to meet a walking group there Saturday) , it is a place to gather, people watch and make the hours of the day go faster. For me the stores often were the subject of my blog "Scenes From The Mall " series. Non profit organizations run events there for exposure. Children beg to go to play in the family area, and would have soon wanted to go to sit on Santa's lap or see the latest toys. There is a hole in the hearts of many people who live not just here, but in the surrounding areas that will not heal until the doors open again , and I sure hope the powers that be are right, that it will not be long before that happens. I will try soon to take a walk down and get a few pics from near the scene as well as any other that crop up on local news.
Breaking News in Roseville ( from yesterday)
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