Neighbor: It was surreal

October 4, 2018

FLORENCE, S.C. — It was just a normal day for Kim Velasquez, a resident of the Vintage Place subdivision, until approximately 4 p.m. Wednesday afternoon when she heard gunshots.

Velasquez said that at first she didn’t think anything of the gunshots, as the subdivision is backed up by a wooded area where hunting is normal.

“I was in the backyard with the dogs,” Velasquez said. “It’s not really all that uncommon to hear gunshots because of the fact that there is woods right behind that street.”

Then she heard sirens and saw many patrol cars pulling into the subdivision with policemen running through the neighborhood with rifles.

“They were running right across the street,” Velasquez said. “Looking out the window, I could see them sticking their guns through one of the backyard fences in a neighboring house. I didn’t know until later that the house they were aiming for was a street over.

“They were staying low and trying to stay out of the line of sight. You could hear the gunshots, and then they would stop for a moment before picking back up again.”

Velasquez said the next couple of hours felt like an eternity. She said she saw a camouflaged Humvee barreling down the street toward the house near the end of the cul-de-sac where the shooter was. She also saw a helicopter arrive.

“I thought there was someone loose in the backyard across the street,” Velasquez said. “You could see them keep looking over the fence, and then I saw the helicopter. I wasn’t sure if it was just part of the media or if it was with the police department.

“It was surreal.”

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