Survivor recounts terrifying, racially motivated Dollar General attack (includes video story)

Mercedez Jones describes the moments she was trapped inside a Dollar General with a 21-year-old shooter who had killed three in a racially motivated attack.

She thought they would be her last,

The young mother was at the store in Jacksonville with her two-year-old daughter shopping for art supplies when she heard shots ring out.

Without fully understanding her new circumstances, Jones and her daughter fled to the back of the store along with some older women to hide.

Jones’s first instinct was to protect her daughter and make it out alive. Scared for her and her child’s life, she says the shooter approached her and told her to run.

“There were three other women, older women, that worked there behind that building with me,” Jones said. “Everyone else could jump. I couldn’t. I had a baby… So, therefore, we were begging for our lives. And I fell begging for mine. Blocking my baby with my body. And he was like, ‘If you don’t want me to shoot you, run.'”

So, Jones ran. Unfortunately, because she was carrying her daughter, she fell, skinning her knees. Luckily, they were able to escape to a nearby property and police came to find her. But even then, Jones was still terrified.

“I was scared to go with the policeman afterward when they actually banged on the apartment door and found me,” Jones said. “I was scared to go with them because they had the same gun wrapped around their shoulder. I was like ‘You look like him’.”

Jones says she is still struggling to find emergency assistance in Jacksonville to help her process the trauma of the shooting.

Tynisa Senior is a senior at Florida International University majoring in Digital Communications and Media with a minor in Social Media and E-Marketing Analytics. It is her passion for news and reporting that drives her to pursue a career in anchoring. She loves a challenge and is always looking forward to new opportunities to better her skillset.