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Woman describes 'traumatic' moments during Whiskey Row shooting in downtown Denver

"In that moment, it's flight or fight response," said Madison Sharnowski, who was in line at Dierks Bentley Whiskey Row when people around her were shot Saturday night
Whiskey Row shooting witness
Whiskey Row shooting
Posted at 3:13 PM, Sep 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-20 19:33:16-04

DENVER — Police in Denver are still searching for the suspect in a mass shooting that injured five people over the weekend near Dierks Bentley's Whiskey Row in Denver.

Denver police said the suspect, only identified by investigators as a woman, was denied entry to the bar and began walking away but quickly returned to have another conversation with security staff. As she walked away a second time, police claim she produced a firearm and discharged it in the direction of the club multiple times, injuring the five victims whom officers believe were not the intended targets.

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Denver7 is hearing from a witness who was in line waiting to get into the bar when the shooting happened.

Madison Sharnowski said she and her friends had gone to Whiskey Row for one last night out before her roommate moved out of state.

"We had been waiting in line for probably about 10 minutes. We were almost in the front of the line at this point," said Sharnowski.

Sharnowski said their night quickly took a turn when gunfire erupted around them.

"It happened really fast. Obviously there were the gunshots. There was quite a few, I'd say maybe seven or eight of them. In that moment, it's like flight or fight response," she said, adding that she froze at first and then hid behind a wall. "When I first ran, I was kind of like, check yourself, did — did I get hit? Check your people — did any of them get hit?" said Sharnowski, who then quickly noticed people around her had been struck.

She added, "There was a girl that was two or three people in front of us and she had been hit. I know that there was also a girl that was just a couple of people behind us that had been hit."

The woman said she saw most people get hit in the leg, one woman she saw had been hit by a bullet that went through her ankle. A lot of people ran into the bars to take cover, she said.

"The girl in front of us that had been hit wasn't able to move. So in that moment, it was kind of like, 'What what can I do to help?'" she said, adding that she stayed with her until the ambulance arrived and helped the victim call her mother.

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Mass shooting suspect denied entry into bar before shooting, police say

Robert Garrison
4:45 PM, Sep 18, 2023

"You really don't know how you're gonna respond until it happens. And hopefully it's not something that you ever really have to respond to," said Sharnowski. "Not only is it traumatic to me, but for the victims as well. And I know that the suspect is still out there somewhere. And I feel like if anything, finding her will bring some sort of comfort to everybody that had to go through this."
Sharnowski said this has all left her nervous about going out again — especially at night.

"I'm extremely grateful to be here. And to be OK, and that all of my friends are also OK. But it's a traumatic experience to go through, especially for the five victims that were hit. I feel like if this weekend taught me anything, it's to hold your people close. Be safe, and most importantly, be kind to everyone," she said.

Sharnowski hopes to reconnect with the victims soon to see how they're doing.

"In the chaos of everything, I got her first name, her occupation, everything except for her last. So I would love to check in on everybody, make sure that they're OK. But especially make sure that she's doing all right," she said.

No arrests have been made at this time and anyone who was present during this incident or has any information that can help identify or locate the suspect is encouraged to contact Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867.

Woman describes 'traumatic' moments during Whiskey Row shooting in downtown Denver

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