Kym Trenkamp of Hebron, Kentucky, said she had just sat down at the Hofbrauhaus in Munich Friday when chaos erupted around her.
“A rush of people came running down the main aisle of the restaurant,” Trenkamp said. “There was screaming. We heard what sounded like popping.”
She, her husband and their 14-year-old son all dropped to the ground and took shelter under their table. None of them knew what was going on; they had been celebrating their final day of vacation in one of Germany’s most famous cities and preparing to head home the following day.
No one — not the Trenkamp family, not the other patrons and not Munich’s police force — expected what happened that afternoon.
Fifteen minutes away, a gunman had opened fire on the patrons of a shopping mall and nearby McDonald’s restaurant, killing nine people and injuring 27 more before taking his own life, according to CNN. Reports from earlier in the day were unclear about the scale of the attack and the number of shooters; as authorities worked to control the situation, much of the city went into lockdown.
Wendy Rice-Komjathy, a Cincinnati native, was among 30 people staying quiet in a locked room above a Munich cafe.
“They came running down the street and told us to run — run inside and hide,” she said. “We could hear a lot of commotion outside, so we just stayed down and waited there for maybe an hour or two … the police walked us down and told us to go straight home.”
Although they were safe, both women said they, like many others, were shaken by the experience.
This attack arrives near the end of a bloody and tragic month for Europe: a truck driver killed 84 people by driving into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, France, and a young man Monday attacked passengers aboard a German train after professing his devotion to the Islamic State Group.
“You just never know when it can happen or where it will happen,” Trenkamp said. “You just have to be vigilant.”