A local teenager displayed calmness under pressure as she and her coworkers shepherded at least a dozen people to safety during last week’s mass shooting in Allen.
As previously reported in The Dallas Express, an armed man began firing on pedestrians at the Allen Premium Outlets shopping center. He killed eight individuals, including three children, and sent several others to the hospital.
Kiera Mojica, 16, was working at Fatburger & Buffalo’s Express when the shots rang out. Although not completely sure of what was happening at the time, Mojica knew that she needed to get herself and her customers to safety. Her actions were caught on the company’s surveillance cameras.
“So, in that video, you see me getting people out of the Fatburger and calling everyone to head out into the back where we believe, as a collective, all the employees, was going to be the safest place for everyone to be and hide,” Mojica explained to NBC 5.
About a dozen employees and customers crowded into the restaurant’s storeroom, where they turned off the lights and waited anxiously for whatever would come next.
“Everyone starts crying, calling people. That was our moment of ‘We got to find help. We need to do something,'” Mojica told NBC 5.
The manager on duty called the franchise restaurant owner, Alf Gonzalez, to alert him to the situation. Gonzalez is also Mojica’s stepfather. He immediately called his stepdaughter.
“I had Kiera on the phone the entire time just talking to her,” Gonzalez told NBC 5. “She was very brave, and she was very calm and collected. And I was just so happy that I had her on the phone the entire time.”
Gonzalez was shocked later to learn how close the shooter had gotten to the restaurant before he was neutralized by a police officer, as previously reported in The Dallas Express.
“When that picture came out of where the assailant was taken down, and I see that [it] was in front of my restaurant, and that hit close to home, how close he got to my employee, to my daughter, to all those customers,” Gonzalez told NBC 5.
Gonzalez expressed his gratitude for the officer who stopped the shooter, telling NBC 5, “That is an ultimate hero and [he] has my love, admiration and gratitude for life.”
Mojica was eventually able to reunite with her parents and take comfort in their embrace. Although she was not physically hurt, the day’s events were emotionally traumatizing for her.
“I’m still a little shaken up by it. It’s been a trouble for me to go thinking about going back to school or leaving the house,” Mojica told NBC 5.
Mojica and the other restaurant employees had not received any prior active shooter training at their workplace, but that may soon change.
“I do know that we were planning on doing some training in the future just because of this,” Mojica told NBC 5.