"I was just frozen in time at that point," said eyewitness Kimberly Recchia.
Recchia was looking right at accused gunman Richard Shoop, seeing him across the hallway in the mall and moving in her direction.
"He had a rifle in the side of his hand, and then him actually firing it, and it was just a shocker. I couldn't believe it," said Recchia.
As police began responding, rushing into Garden State Plaza, Recchia remembers the gunman looking ominous.
"He was wearing something like a shield over his head so that no one could see him, and something on top of his head like a helmet, adds Recchia, "and he was wearing mostly black."
Many people were running and screaming trying to escape the impending danger. Shoppers like Eric Delgado and Paco Valencia were also catching site of the gunman heavily armed.
"He had two strapped on his side, and I guess his shotgun in both hands," says Valencia.
With people now running for their lives, the frightening moments were caught on cell phones. Outside the giant mall, scores of heavily armed police from a number of surrounding departments were now responding to the chaos and the uncertainty posed by this lone gunman firing indiscriminately.
Back inside, still seeing the gunman, Delgado remembers.
"He probably could have killed me because I was less than 20 yards away from him, and there were people like right in front of him that he definitely could have killed," said Delgado.