COURTESY OF FRANCES JACKSON
Ruth Jackson, one of seven people shot by a gunman in the Tacoma Mall on Sunday, is shown in a family photo when she graduated from nursing school, flanked by brother Steve and mother Frances.
Former McKinley student OK after Tacoma chaos
She was on the phone with her mom when the shooting began
RUTH JACKSON was at the beauty shop in the Tacoma Mall Sunday at about noon when she called her mother, Frances, in Pearl City to chat.
A couple of minutes into the conversation, Frances Jackson heard what she described as a loud noise -- "'Bang, bang bang,' just like that. I thought it was a car or truck crashing."
Then the screams started.
"So much people screaming at the top of their lungs," Jackson said. "I called my daughter, 'Ruth, Ruth.' She came on the phone and said, 'There's a shooting going on. I gotta go,' and hung up."
Ruth Jackson, 41, who grew up in Hawaii and attended McKinley High School, was among the injured victims when a 20-year-old man armed with an assault rifle and semi-automatic pistol began shooting inside the crowded mall. Tacoma police said seven people were injured, one critically.
FRANCES JACKSON said for several anxious hours she didn't know if her daughter was OK.
"I tried to call her back several times. Nobody answered the phone," Frances Jackson said.
She watched CNN and other news channels trying to see if she could recognize her daughter running from the scene.
Finally a friend of her daughter's called to say Ruth was injured and had been taken to a hospital, but would be fine.
"So much people screaming at the top of their lungs. I called my daughter, 'Ruth, Ruth.' She came on the phone and said, 'There's a shooting going on. I gotta go,' and hung up."|
Recalling the conversation with her daughter on Sunday
Ruth was grazed by a bullet in the right thigh and right shin. There were also some bullet fragments in her abdomen that do not need to be removed, Frances Jackson said.
Dominick Sergio Maldonado, 20, is being held on $2 million bail. Maldonado told detectives he had been humiliated during a troubled childhood and that recent problems made him want to be "heard," according to court papers.
The standoff with Maldonado, who held four people hostage in a music store, continued for four hours until he surrendered.
Ruth was told by police not to speak to the media, Frances said.
But Frances described what her daughter told her about the shooting.
"She told me as soon as she turned around there was the guy. She was looking right at him," Frances said.
Ruth told her mother that she was only about 20 feet from Maldonado and described a well-dressed young man with a white shirt and tie who opened his trench coat, pulled out a gun and started shooting wildly.
Ruth ran to a store as employees started to pull down the security gate at the entrance. Frances said her daughter stopped to grab two crying little girls who had been separated from their parents and dragged them into the store.
ONCE THE DOORS were locked, Frances said her daughter started getting chills and feeling dizzy. She said she looked at her pants and they were wet and her shoes were filled with blood.
People in the store administered first aid, until police secured the area and started evacuating people from the mall.
"She's kind of tough," Frances said of her daughter. "She used to be a truck driver."
Ruth is now recovering at home, Frances said.
Frances Jackson said she's also still recovering. "It was a horrible, horrible experience," she said. "I still can't get over it."
She plans to fly up to Washington with her husband to see her daughter. Frances Jackson said she wants to see Ruth with her own eyes, so she can finally stop worrying.