ROANOKE (WSLS 10) – Travis Valderrama, 31, was the first to be released from Roanoke Memorial Hospital Wednesday following Tuesday’s shooting at FreightCar America.
He described the scene Tuesday morning as one of frantic confusion.
Valderrama says, when he heard someone come through the door at FreightCar America Tuesday morning, he initially thought it was just an employee late for work.
Then, he heard the gunshots.
“I heard two or three shots go off behind me, and I was getting ready to turn around and look back and he was standing two or three feet in front of me and let off one round and I held my chest and I took off running,” said Valderrama.
Valderrama says he quickly realized he wasn’t the only one who had been hit by gunfire.
“I saw one gentleman on the ground, and I saw another one falling to the ground,” said Valderrama.
As he ran, he says heard more shots behind him.
He says it was a while before he actually stopped to see how badly he was wounded.
“I had a bullet hole through and through my blue suit that I was wearing for welding, but I kept checking, kept checking and I felt, not a burn, but a bee sting to my chest, and I kept looking and I saw that I had a black mark on my name tag and I had a red mark on my chest,” said Valderrama.
Valderrama would later learn at the hospital he was one of the lucky ones.
The bullet that tore through his suit only grazed his chest.
Valderrama says his supervisor reassured him that he did the right thing by running, but he says learning that one of his coworkers was killed weighs on him.
“It saddens me, because I did not go back for my co-workers. I know running was the right thing to do, but I don’t want the guys to think that I left them behind,” said Valderrama.”