ROSS TOWNSHIP, Pa. — It’s a memory Julie Ruiz won’t soon forget.
“For me, it was just like seeing people running towards me,” the Ross Park Mall store manager said. “It hits you in waves. You kind of repeat the situation over and over.”
Weeks after a fight ended with gunfire inside the mall, a number of employees who worked that day aren’t coming back to work.
“Some obviously are not handling it as well as others, and rightfully so. Everyone handles traumatic situations differently,” Ruiz said.
Even though no one was hurt during the incident and the aftermath, Ruiz said the trauma is still there.
“Mental health in this was a huge piece of that because it was really scary for a lot of people regardless of, you know, how minor the incident ended up being based off of what we found out. It’s still really scary when you’re in it,” she said.
For many who have come back, there’s been a change in their outlook.
“I am definitely more alert. There’s no denying that. I don’t think any of us who’ve gone through this situation will ever look at it the same. I think we’re all going to operate a little bit differently,” Ruiz said.
Ruiz said she’s seen many of the changes the mall has made in the wake of the shooting but hopes conversations continue so that everyone is as prepared as they can be for a worst-case scenario.
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