Survivors say during the chaos of the attack there was one clear and distinct sound: Gunfire.
"Five shots, consecutively and that's when we knew that it was a gun," says mall employee Allan Fonseca.
As the shots continued to ring out Fonseca, working inside Macy's, grabbed the customer he had been helping and hid her behind the counter.
"I was crouched down the whole time and he said, 'We've got to evacuate and we've got to evacuate now.' And I'm like, knowing the gunman is right there is it safe? And he says, 'Yes, you've got to trust me'," recalls Jocelyn Lay.
The two rushed to safety through the back of the store, but Fonseca wasn't done.
He ran back inside to help more customers get out.
For Cindy Yuille there would be no hero.
The 54-year-old hospice nurse was at the mall shopping for Christmas gifts when she was gunned down.
"She spent her life helping other people transition to the end of life, and Cindy Yuilles' family never got to say goodbye," says friend Kelly Nickerson.
Neither did Steve Forsyth's wife and kids.
The 45-year-old owned a marketing business that included a kiosk in the mall where he lost his life.
"We lost a guy way before his time, and it angers me because the way he went out was...disrespectful," says friend Damien Smith.
The mall will reopen Friday morning.
A candlelight vigil will be held later Friday evening.