Wynnewood man and family survive Kenya mall massacre

September 24, 2013 3:41:02 PM PDT
A man from Wynnewood, Montgomery County, along with his wife and young daughter, are among the survivors of the deadly terrorist attack at a shopping mall in Kenya.

Speaking by webcam, 32-year-old Nick Handler called it the most surreal moment of his life.

"I heard a loud explosion or blast followed by some gunshots, and I happened to be very close to the door," he said. "I just reached over, grabbed my daughter and just ran out the front door of that caf?."

Handler was grabbing a bite to eat with his two-year-old daughter, Julia, when the siege began.

His wife, Lyndsay, who is eight months pregnant, was shopping on a different floor of the mall.

Nick quickly took Julia and hid in a nearby storage area with dozens of other terrified shoppers and mall employees. He stayed there for approximately 90 minutes, with no idea what happened to Lyndsay.

Handler says the most terrifying moment came when he decided to pick up his little girl and walk out of the storage area.

"I made it about halfway across the room," he said. "All of a sudden a wave of people came running back. At that point I had no idea if we'd been discovered, if somebody knew where we were and were coming after us. That was definitely the most terrifying moment of those three hours that we were in that room."

As it turns out, the rush of people was being led by security officers who were helping people get to a secure area of the mall and finally outside to safety.

That's where Nick was reunited with his wife, who escaped the gunfire by fleeing to the roof.

Nick said he has nothing but gratitude for local law enforcement officers.

"Those people were heroes and absolutely saved our lives and the lives of so many people in the mall, and my wife as well," he said. "She never would have made it off the roof of the mall if it weren't for two plainclothes police that made it up to the roof and secured the way down for them."

According to ABC News, the Handler family is planning to leave Kenya. There is no word what their specific plans are.


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