YUBA CITY (CBS13) – A clerk who was inside the Yuba City Big 5 Sporting Goods store Sunday during a hostage situation spoke with CBS13 on Monday on what it was like during the ordeal.
“I feel like I just got off a roller coaster,” Matt Rasul said.
It was a day Rasul will never forget after a gunman took his co-worker hostage.
“Being in a constant state of fear, not really about myself or anything, but what’s going on in there,” he said.
Police say Juan Carlos Alvarez barged into the store, taking an 18-year-old clerk named Allison by the neck and putting a gun to her head.
Investigators say he even fired a shot into the ceiling and ordered everyone out of the store except Allison. Matt didn’t know anything was wrong until he came out of the break room minutes later.
“By the time I got out, he was already set up,” he said. “He already had a hostage.”
From there matt made a decision. He was going to help his co-worker, who was being held in the manager’s office. He hid and dialed 911.
“She (dispatcher) asked me what the layout was, where people were,” he said. “I posted up in a spot that I knew I could see the office.”
From there Matt reported back what he could, giving crucial information about where the suspect was, but his phone died an hour and a half later.
“Minutes felt like hours, so I didn’t know what was going on,” he said.
Matt made his way to a display tent and laid low, and more than four hours after the standoff began, negotiators had arranged Alvarez’s peaceful surrender.
“They called Allison’s name, Allison came out with her hands up, they got her,” Matt said. “The guy came out with his shirt off.”
Matt doesn’t call himself a hero. He’s just ready to get back to work.
“I love working at Big 5, and I don’t have an doubts about going back,” he said.