Yesterday was a day a lot of people will remember forever in the Capital Region. Those who were at Crossgates Mall were in a panic, thinking this could be their last time at the mall, while family and friends were worried for their safety.

I had multiple friends shopping Saturday at Crossgates Mall. I didn't know it at the time—why would I? But the feeling of seeing their comments afterward has left me feeling so happy for their safety.

My friend Maria was one of the shoppers stuck in a store as the investigation went on. Here is her first-person account:

I'm not even in the mall for 10 minutes. I'm standing at the back of a store trying a cute vest on over my sweater; coat and purse lying on the floor. All of a sudden I see everyone running to the back of the store. I hear some someone say "shots were fired everyone to the back." I immediately turn around to look at the entrance of the store. The gate was already down and locked. I grab all my stuff and follow the crowd to the back storage room where everyone is looking around scared, confused. The manager of the store announces there is an active shooter in the mall. Immediately panic set over the faces of the people in the tiny cramped room. The first thing everyone does is text or call loved ones to inform them of what's happening. Sitting there anxious and shaking, a million things run through your head. "Who? What? Where? Why? WHYYY." People of all ages surrounding you. Children that are scared. Children too young to know what's going on. "Why? Why should they have to experience this?" Next thought, "I need to get out of here, I need to just get out of here, NOW, run out the back door. I'm not going to stay here like a sitting duck." A million questions that you want answers to. You want information. We get notified that SWAT is on scene, the gunman has not been located. We move into the inventory room. This door has a lock, this is the safest place if we need to lock ourselves in. Now all we can do is wait. Mind racing, you try to think of a million strategies if directly faced with a dangerous situation. The employees of the store and myself trying to remain calm and attempting to keep others calm. The employees bring out crayons, stickers, and paper to keep the children occupied. This will now be our home for an undisclosed amount of time. You continue to let people know where you are, that you are safe. We have open lines of communication to the public and law enforcement. We keep waiting, constantly tracking the situation on social media. Two hours go by. We are finally informed that they are escorting people out store by store. Everyone gets their things packed up and moves closer to the door of the stock room. Again, we wait. At this point we know we are the safest place we can be, no one minds waiting. We know there are men and women out there doing their jobs to get us out safe. The manager comes back about 30-45 minutes later and finally we hear "lets go, we're going now." Pregnant women and children first. They file out. Finally you walk out of the back room through the store and into the hallway. They have you walk tight in a single file line against the storefronts that are covered in locked gates. This is a much harsher reality than the start of your "fun day at the mall". Are there people in those stores still waiting? You don't know. Walking in that single file line you're still strategizing what you're going to do if something goes down. Mind racing still, but this time you're even more alert. We are all taken to the same exit and finally are outside in the parking lot. Families and friends that were in different stores are reunited. There is a helicopter flying above, dozens and dozens of cop cars line the curb. You just want to get to your car and get out of there.

It's amazing how life can change in a matter of seconds. Something one of the people sitting in that stock room with me said, stuck with me. "You can't go anywhere anymore." I feel that same way right now. I don't want to go anywhere. The world itself is such a beautiful place. Some of the people in it are not. Be a beautiful person.

More From 107.7 WGNA