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Councilwoman Brewer: 'We dove under our desks'

The injured are taken by stretcher to NYU Hospital after a shooting at New York's City Hall.
The injured are taken by stretcher to NYU Hospital after a shooting at New York's City Hall.

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NEW YORK (CNN) -- Wednesday afternoon a shooter killed New York Councilman James Davis, D-Brooklyn, in New York's City Hall. CNN correspondent Maria Hinojosa interviewed Manhattan Councilwoman Gale Brewer who was in the building when the shooting occurred.

Below are excerpts from her description of the incident during her interview with CNN anchor Kyra Phillips.

BREWER: All of a sudden we were about to start the City Council meeting and we heard shots. We heard about seven shots, really loud. We dove under our desks, and we were piled on top of each other because so many of us had never experienced something like this.

And then all of a sudden we were grabbed by some of our colleagues, and we ran down the stairs leaving our pocketbooks and papers scattered all the way across.

We didn't know if the shots were coming from the balcony, but we didn't know if they were spraying down or they were being shot up in the balcony. We didn't know if we ran down the stairs somebody was going to follow us, and we were running really fast.

People were falling. They were even falling over the lines in front of the guardrail. The we ran down into the rotunda of the City Hall. We were told by the police to run even further. People were jumping over the fence that is in the City Hall parking lot to get out into the street.

It was a very, very frightening experience.

PHILLIPS: Did you actually see a shooter?

BREWER: No. The City Council has a floor and then there's a balcony above for the public.

The City Council floor ... was packed with people because we were just about to start. So all we knew was that you could hear it was above, and there were really, really loud shots coming from above.

PHILLIPS: We saw two individuals coming out on stretchers ... Do you know anything about the injured parties who were shot?

BREWER: We don't because we were made to go across the street and so all we know is that we heard that there were two police officers wounded. But we were not able to see anything.

PHILLIPS: Could you describe the security there at City Hall?

BREWER: Normally, you walk into a parking lot, then you are supposed to go through a metal detector, sort of a second point of check right before you go on to the city hall grounds.

There's a metal detector, similar to what one sees in an airport. All of your bags and belongings are supposed to be checked at that metal detector. That's the normal procedure. I don't know how a gun would have gotten through that, but obviously it did.

PHILLIPS: How would someone get onto this balcony? Would you have to enter the front of the building to get on this balcony? Is this a balcony that can be accessed from the outside or another part of the building?

BREWER: Yes, you do have to enter the front door of the City Hall and go through the process that I just described in order to get to the balcony. You go through the two checkpoints and then up the stairs and into the Council chambers. There's a special set of stairs for the public and the public goes up into the balcony.

PHILLIPS: Councilwoman, we sure appreciate you getting on the phone there and updating us and telling us everything that you know. Thank you so much.


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