Survivor who hid in cabinets describes San Bernardino terror attack

Rob McMillan Image
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
EMBED <>More Videos

Paula Harold survived the San Bernardino terrorist attack after hiding in a set of cabinets until helped arrived.

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (KABC) -- It's a day Paula Harold will never forget, the day one of her employees and his wife opened fire on her and co-workers in San Bernardino.

Harold said the San Bernardino County health workers were about to take lunch at their holiday banquet in the Inland Regional Center when Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik entered the conference room.

"The door opened and the shooter came in, just all blacked out, I couldn't see any flesh at all and once I saw the powder escaping from the bullets coming out from the rifle, I said, 'I need to get down and get out as quickly as I can," Harold said.

Harold is a supervisor with the department of health and said that Farook was an employee in her department.

MORE: What we know about the San Bernardino terrorist attack

She said Farook said something as he entered the conference room, but she can't remember exactly what he said.

"Once I saw that rifle going from one end of the room and spraying the room across, I didn't care to look, I just wanted to get out and save my life," Harold said.

She crawled on her hands and knees, cutting herself along the way, but luckily was not struck by gunfire.

"There was a lady coming out of the bathroom through the hallway," Harold recalled. "I hear her yell out, 'oh my god."

Harold followed a group of people into a side room and hid in a set of cabinets.

"I went and hid in them and prayed like crazy that... it would just stop and whoever did this, that they would be caught," she said.

Harold is not only struggling to come to terms with the horrific sights she witnessed, but has been saddened by the numerous funerals she is helping to plan as many of the deceased worked in her office.

Officials said Farook and Malik killed 14 people and injured 21 others during the attack.

MORE: The 14 victims of the San Bernardino terrorist attack

"How are we going to attend them all (the funerals)? Are going to get time off work?" Harold asked.

Of the 12 people who worked in her office, Harold said five were killed in the attack.

Two people in her direct unit, Nicholas Thalasinos and Shannon Johnson, were killed.

MORE: Nicholas Thalasinos, man outspoken against radical Islam, killed in San Bernardino attack

MORE: San Bernardino survivor says victim Shannon Johnson saved her life

"We've just been gathering as a group to support each other and to provide love to each other," Harold said.