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When Maggie Montoya returned home after placing seventh at the 15K U.S. championships on Saturday, in Jacksonville, Florida, she also went back to her job as a pharmacy technician at the King Soopers in Boulder, Colorado.
On Monday afternoon, Montoya was helping administer COVID-19 vaccines when a 21-year-old man entered the store and opened fire. The suspect killed 10 people, including a police officer and Rikki Olds, 25, who worked as a manager at the King Soopers and was a friend of Montoya.
“[She was] just a phenomenal lady,” Montoya said on Tuesday during an emotional CNN interview with Anderson Cooper. “We’re the same age and just feeling so young and knowing that’s she’s gone too early.”
Maggie Montoya, who survived the Boulder grocery store shooting, said she heard "a lot of gunshots, a little bit of screaming and then it was just quiet."
"It was quiet for a long time with just the store music and then random shots of fire throughout the store," she said. pic.twitter.com/DQm5cMTtZZ
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) March 24, 2021
During the interview, Montoya described the harrowing experience, hiding in a room near the pharmacy with coworkers, and exiting the building in the aftermath escorted by members of a SWAT team who advised them to avert their eyes from the carnage left by the gunman.
Since Monday, many in the running community have wondered how they can help the survivors, including Montoya. Her agent, Josh Cox, has started a GoFundMe drive that will support Montoya and her coworkers, including two pharmacists and three technicians. The money will aid in their recovery, therapy, and time away from work.
“We are all grieving with them and these funds will help them navigate the long journey ahead,” Cox wrote. “Our hearts and prayers are with all the friends and families of those who are suffering from this senseless tragedy.”
Survivors of the grocery store shooting in Boulder, Colorado, described a chaotic scene and the urgent calls they made to loved ones as they hid from the gunman. https://t.co/4avUahXDtt pic.twitter.com/XQGIrVKVyl
— The New York Times (@nytimes) March 23, 2021
Montoya, 26, competed for Baylor University, where she earned All-America honors and is now a member of Roots Running, a Boulder-based professional training group. In 2020 she set a 10,000-meter best of 32:06.87 at the Sound Running Track Meet and a half marathon PR of 70:06 in Houston.
Just a few hours after escaping the shooting, Montoya tweeted: “You never think it’ll happen to you. Going to go see family, it’s been too long. Thought I’d never see them again.”