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20-year-old shares how he escaped Tops during Buffalo Mass Shooting

"Basically, I heard war."
Taisiah Stewart
Posted at 8:16 PM, May 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-02 10:58:06-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Last Saturday Taisiah Stewart, 20, walked to Tops on Jefferson Avenue to visit his friend who is a cashier there. Minutes later he found himself running for his life.

Stewart went back to the scene to share his story with 7 News' Michael Schwartz on Friday afternoon.

Stewart said he waited for his friend's shift to wrap up, and sat in the entrance of Tops.

"When I heard the shots I kept hearing, 'BAM BAM BAM,' and then I kept hearing the shots," explained Stewart.

"Basically, I heard war," said Stewart.

Stewart said he ran to the back of the store, ducking often and telling people around him to follow.

"I ran into the freezer, before I found the exit," explained Stewart. "I saw other people, and I'm like come on, come on, come on."

"Everything was happening so fast," explained Stewart.

Stewart said he ran out the back of the store without shoes, cutting through a neighbor's field, not knowing if he would make it out of the store alive.

"I didn't know where the shooting was coming from," said Stewart. "My right mind told me to keep running."

On Friday he came back to the scene, explaining the importance he felt to be there. He said he feels a new purpose in life, forever carrying the 10 lives lost in the attack in his heart.

"I feel like I'm getting closure coming out here," said Stewart. "I feel like being out here makes me a little strong, but it's painful too."

Stewart has organized a GoFundMe, to help he and his family financially.

Stewart's phone was left in the store and was collected as evidence. He said his mom had trouble contacting him but they later reunited.

Stewart said he never saw the shooter. He did see pictures of the teen, describing him as "Satan."