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Witnesses: Woman shot at point-blank range

Story Highlights

• Shooting happened outside glass doors leading to CNN.com newsroom
• Startled employees saw woman dragged, then shot
• Staffer: "He looked like he had the gun right on top of her head"
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ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- The first blast from the gunman echoed through the CNN.com newsroom, just yards away.

Startled workers turned to look in the direction of the noise and saw the gunman through a set of glass doors, coming toward them from the neighboring Omni Hotel.

CNN.com's John Helton had a direct view of the gunman and the woman from his desk. (Watch Helton describe the struggle before the shots Video)

"I saw him coming down the escalator pulling her along, around the corner, he ran into the [potted] plant and that's when they started struggling," he said.

"She seemed to be trying to wrestle free of him."

Helton said the woman appeared to be shot at point-blank range.

"He looked like he had the gun right on top of her head and shot her."

Brad Lendon, another CNN.com employee, was even closer to the gunman as they almost came eye to eye through the glass doors.

"After he shot the woman, the man looked around, his head turning my way," Lendon said. (Watch Lendon describe how the woman was shot Video)

"Replaying it in my mind now, he didn't seem agitated, wasn't looking around like you would expect someone who'd just shot someone. It wasn't like TV or movies. He looked around almost casually."

Colleague Simit Shah was at his desk, having just walked through the corridor where the shooting occurred.

"I was getting ready to leave for a meeting upstairs. That's when I heard a loud noise, which turned out to be the first gunshot," he said.

"We are used to hearing loud noises due to construction on a regular basis, but this 'bang' seemed out of the ordinary."

He turned to Helton at the next desk and they both looked out of the doors at the same time, he said.

"I saw two people in front of that doorway. At first they were moving in a manner that made me believe that they were running from something, but it then became clear that they were struggling.

"They crashed into the potted plant near the door, and then I heard the other shots in quick succession. At that point, it was clear to me that this was gunfire. I yelled, 'Oh shit!' and started running towards the back of the newsroom," Shah said.

"In the back of my mind, I was thinking about the unlocked door to our newsroom." (Watch cell-phone video of the scene immediately after the shooting Video)

Nicole Parks was also concerned for the safety of her CNN.com colleagues.

"I heard a very loud noise. I thought 'Maybe something fell, but ... it sounds like gunfire.'

"When I heard two more pops in short succession, I knew. I said 'This is gunfire, everybody leave'," said Parks, who added she was still "pretty shaken up" after police had cleared the area.

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A Turner Security officer responds to the shooting at the glass doors leading to CNN.com.

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