An El Paso native is being hailed a hero after getting shot in the Walmart massacre Saturday while throwing bottles at the gunman in an attempt to distract him from targeting others.
Chris Grant, 50, had gone with his mother to shop for groceries and was in the produce section when he saw alleged shooter Patrick Crusius firing specifically at Hispanic people, he said.
“To deter him I started just chucking bottles, I just started throwing random bottles at him,” Grant on Monday told CNN’s Chris Cuomo from his hospital bed at University Medical Center.
Grant’s plan worked and it wasn’t long before he became the gunman’s target.
“I ducked and he just started firing rounds off at me,” Grant said.
Grant was shot twice near his rib cage before the shooter moved on to other shoppers.
“When I got hit, it was like somebody put a hand grenade in your back and pulled the pin, that’s basically what it felt like,” he said.
Grant watched as fellow shoppers scrambled for cover and prayed in Spanish to be spared while the gunman, who was wearing shooting glasses, ignored their pleas and continued firing.
“They’re on the ground and he still just shot them in the head,” he said of other victims. “I mean, they’re praying in Spanish … ‘please, please don’t shoot me.’ And he had no remorse for their lives at all.”
Grant eventually made his way into Walmart’s auto department.
“There was Donna, my guardian angel,” he said.
CBP Officer Donna Sifford tended to Grant’s wounds and took him to shelter before sending him to the hospital. At the time, she was off-duty and without her gun.
“She said the same thing my mom said, ‘I’m going to Walmart; I don’t need my firearm,’” said Grant, who noted he and his mother own guns, but did not bring them to grocery shop.
Though grateful to be alive, Grant spoke of the people he watched die at the hands of the gunman.
“I don’t think I deserved to live like some of those children deserved to die; it’s not fair,” Grant said. “One little girl saw her parents get killed right in front of her. Why would you kill an innocent child? Why would you do that? How much hate do you have to have in your heart to do that?”
Crusius, the suspect in the shooting, is accused of posting a racist, anti-immigrant manifesto on the message board 8chan before allegedly opening fire. After the shooting, he surrendered to police in the shopping center’s parking lot, officials said. He has been charged with capital murder and is being held on no bond.
The attack is being investigated as an act of domestic terrorism and a possible hate crime.
Grant was placed in a medically induced coma as doctors tended to his wounds and the internal bleeding he suffered.
After waking in the hospital on Monday surrounded by his family, he downplayed the actions he took that put him in the shooter’s crosshairs.
“I did what any good man would have done.”