A worker's quick thinker helped several of his colleagues escape a California trader Joe's on Saturday during a hours-long incident at the grocery store after a man had taken dozens of people hostage and killed a woman.
Sean Gerace told NBC Los Angeles He was working in the back room of Trader Joe's Silver Lake neighborhood in Los Angeles when he shouted and shuddered shortly after 3:00 pm He and his colleagues ran to a storage area upstairs for security reasons.
"I grabbed an emergency ladder, barricaded the corridor, grabbed a gun, stuck the ladder out the window, and just tried to get the attention of a SWAT officer," Gerace recalled.  Gerace was seen on video signaling police officers at the scene before he and other employees climbed down the ladder. He helped other workers out of the building before he got to safety.
The terrible torment for the workers and customers in the supermarket began when an unidentified man ran into it after plunging his vehicle into a pole. He barricaded himself and held dozens of employees and customers hostage.
HOSTAGES FREE AFTER TRADER JOE STAFF IN LA; Suspicious outliers; AT LEAST 3 SHOTS, 1 DEAD
There was a gunfight between the suspect in the store and the policemen outside.
"It only took fractions of a second before he got out of the boom boom boom and he ran into the store," Dan Zito, who was out of the store when the incident occurred, told The Los Angeles Times.
About two hours earlier, the suspect shot his grandmother seven times and injured another woman whom he forced into a car.
Lynne Westafer, an employee of Trader Joe, told KCAL that she did not, he knew that the alleged gunman had shot his grandmother several times before the kidnapping.
"He said he would kill us if he could not talk to his grandma," Westafer recalls. "And he would start counting down from five – and that was scary."
"I'm mostly angry, I'm still angry, there were moments of total terror, he loved the power and he would ease the situation," she said of the appalling situation.
The stalemate lasted until about 18:30. when the man agreed to be handcuffed and left the front door, surrounded by four hostages. The unknown man, who the police said he was 28 years old, was immediately taken into custody. The police said he has a wound on his arm.
"The heroism shown today was unsurpassed, and the teams that were able to respond, secure the perimeter, and speak with the suspect were undoubtedly saving lives today." Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said. "Our heart goes to everyone who has been traumatized."
WORKERS 'VIOLATION AT TRADER JOE & # 39; s IN LA WAS MY WORLD' BROTHER SAYS; OTHER TWEET CONDOLENCES
A woman identified as Melyda Corado by her family and local media was killed during the shootout and stalemate. Corado, a recently promoted store manager, was dragged out of business by staff and declared dead at the scene.
"They were only so devastated," Westafer said of the staff who had learned of Corado's death. "Everybody loved her, they're destroyed, she was in her late 20s, it's heartbreaking, I can not even tell you how upset they are."
The grandmother, who was shot seven times, was in critical condition while the other woman suffered a grazing wound.
Fire department officials said six people aged 12 years to 81 were taken to the hospital. No one was shot and everyone was in fair condition.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.