Mother, daughter separated during Issaquah gun rampage


by OWEN LEI / KING 5 News

Posted on September 25, 2011 at 10:23 AM

Updated Sunday, Sep 25 at 11:22 AM

ISSAQUAH, Wash. -- For Susan Waters and her daughter Isabella Brown, an afternoon of fear and frustration gave way to an evening of relief and gratitude.

And, perhaps, a dose of perspective.

"I'm not quite as upset about her room being dirty as I was this morning," said Waters, smiling.

Mother and daughter found themselves separated Saturday when a wandering gunman happened to start shooting near Issaquah High School.

Isabella, 11, was on campus cheer leading at a youth football game.   She ended up hiding under the bleachers with players, cheerleaders, coaches, and others.

"She's a little more independent, and I felt fine dropping her off at the game to come back later," said Waters, "And then you get a phone call like that and your heart stops and you think 'Oh my God.'

That phone call was Isabella calling from someone Else's phone.

"I was scared for some reason that someone was going to hear me talking on the phone,' Isabella said, "and I was like, 'Mom, there are gunshots and there's a whole lot of police around here and I'm really scared!'"

Waters said she was at a nearby drugstore when she got the call.  She tried hurrying back, she said, but in the ensuing chaos, she got stuck in traffic, then stuck behind the police perimeter.

"For the next several hours, I was just standing there waiting to hear any news," she said.

Like many other parents who rushed to the school to pick up their children, the only way she was able to get a hold of her daughter was via text message.

One of Susan's messages of reassurance reads: "I can't get to you because they blocked down the area, but everything will be okay."

It would be about four hours, the said, before Waters could confirm that with her own eyes.

By that time, things had calmed down.  Police had killed the shooter and dispelled conflicting eyewitness accounts that there might be another shooter walking around.

Other than the shooter, no one else was hit by gunfire, said King County Sheriff's investigators.

"I'm really glad especially since there were so many policemen around it seemed really serious," said Isabella.