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Leaving patio likely saved life of diner during Westgate shooting

(Submitted to KTAR News by Brittany)

PHOENIX – Popping sounds, flickering lights, then complete darkness and fear. An evening of drinks and dinner with a friend at Westgate Entertainment District in Glendale turned into a night of horror when a gunman opened fire Wednesday.

Three people were injured, one critically, police said. Bullets hit the Yard House restaurant, where patio diners scattered to save themselves around 7:20 p.m.

“If we wouldn’t have moved when we did, those gunshots hit literally at our table and the window that was behind us,” a witness, Brittany, told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Thursday.

The mother of a 6-year-old boy, Brittany, who will be identified only by her first name, said she and a friend had gone out to catch up after being separated by the coronavirus restrictions.

“We’re sitting on the patio and we heard a bunch of – we couldn’t really tell – at first [we thought] maybe some fireworks were going off. There was some kind of loud popping sound, but then it was very apparent that it was not fireworks.”

They heard at least two dozen rounds, she said.

When the lights around the shopping center started to flicker then went out completely, “I knew that something wasn’t right when the power went out,” Brittany said.

Brittany, a gun owner, and her friend, who is in the military and mother to a 7-year-old, scrambled to get inside the restaurant. They heard bullets hit the building and crack windows.

Authorities later let her take pictures of the table where she had been siting.

By then she was calmer. But three hours before that, she made a difficult call while sheltered in place.

“The first phone call that I made was to my son’s father and I just said I don’t know what’s going on,” she said.

“You know, I don’t want to say goodbye but I don’t know what’s going to happen. So, I don’t want to talk to him, I don’t want his last memory of me to be something that is fearful and scary, but please let him know that something might happen and that I love him.

“It was a very, very surreal feeling.”

Police took Armando Hernandez, Jr., 20, into custody without incident. He faces charges including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and damaging property of a utility.

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