Santa Monica Witness: Chaos On The Big Blue Bus - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

Santa Monica Witness: Chaos On The Big Blue Bus

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The scene inside Big Blue Bus number 7 late Friday morning in Santa Monica was bloody, loud and something riders say they could have never expected.

"People were crying and screaming and it was just chaos. I saw a woman who was bleeding from her head," said Marta Fagerstorm.

Fagerstrom said this was the last thing she ever expected to experience more than 5,500 miles away from her homeland in Sweden.

"It's crazy. I'm Polish raised in Sweden, and everyone always tells you it's so dangerous here in the United States. You hear about these things and yet it seems so distant. At the same time, you know it can happen. Now I know it really can happen."

Fagerstrom, 30, is an international student at Santa Monica College. She's been living here for the past two years to pursue her dream as a filmmaker. Around noon, she was on the bus headed to school to take her final exam in film class. It was then that a scene, seemingly taken straight from a horror film, unfolded before her eyes.

"I was trying to study some last minute things, so I wasn't really paying attention when the bus stopped at Pico and Cloverfield," she said. "The bus driver opens the window and starts waving on the left side of the bus. At first I didn't look that much because I was trying to study. I didn't know why she [the bus driver] was waving but it wasn't the kind of wave like she knew somebody; it was like something was off. Then suddenly this guy is standing outside to the left of the bus and just starts shooting."

The gunman, as she described him, was "pale with semi-curly black hair. The only thing I really saw was that he had a rifle and he was just shooting. I don't know how many shots he fired--maybe four, five, six, seven, I'm not sure. But it was definitely more than three shots. It all happened so fast."

At that point, Fagerstrom said, everyone on the bus ducked and attempted to protect themselves on the floor.

"I didn't hear [the gunman] say anything, I just heard the shots. I threw myself on the floor and saw glass shattering. People were crying and screaming and it was just chaos. I saw a woman who was bleeding from her head and I thought she had been shot, but it was because she had been hit by shattered glass. The bus driver was panicked, but she couldn't get away. She couldn't get the gears going because she was so panicked, but eventually she was able to drive and everyone was telling her to go, go, go!"

Eventually Big Blue Bus number 7 stopped alongside the Ralphs supermarket on Olympic and Cloverfield. "[The bus driver] drove far from where we were originally because she just wanted to get away and was so panicked and had all of us telling her to go. But then when we realized we were driving so far away, we told her to stop."

Everyone on the bus then exited and waited for police and ambulance to arrive.

Fagerstrom said she called her parents immediately after the bus parked and they were out of harm's way. "I called them right away and told them I was fine, but of course they are worried. I have my roommate that I live with and I have a lot of friends, so I have support, but it was so surreal I am still in shock."

As she continued, "The crazy thing is I usually take another bus and today I decided to go this way. Anything can happen to anyone if you're at the wrong place at the wrong time. I've been at bad places at night and nothing happened to me. And yet here I am going to school in my everyday life in broad daylight and I have the most violent experience of my life."

Although it was a terrifying experience, Fagerstrom said she is grateful to be alive and well, albeit with some uncertainty about her future here in America. "My experience is nothing compared to those who were injured and died, but I am still in disbelief. Up until today I don't think I had even seen a real gun in my life. I was planning to stay here longer to work in the industry after my degree, but I don't know now."

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