Life has changed for the employees of Pennywise Plaza as they returned to work for the first time since Monday’s horrific shooting.
But while police stepped up patrols and counsellors were on hand to speak to affected workers, the employees say they remained traumatised by the fatal robbery.
Security officer Chris Nicholas said no longer could he do his job in the same way.
“It is a different time now. We have to watch everything because we never know what will happen,” Nicholas said.
His eyes glistened with tears as he recalled how he ran inside and took cover when over 100 bullets rang out, shattering the peace.
“At first I thought was firecrackers, the number of shots that start to take place. It was terrifying, it frightened us, and no one expected that. We working here four years and the first time this actually took place,” he said.
As a frontline security guard, Nicholas said he remains worried but felt happy to see frequent police patrols.
“Police came three or four times already so we are feeling safe. Those who are traumatised feel better. The police making us feel like we could stay and work again,” he explained.
Nicholas said many people were now more vigilant.
“Long time I was more relaxed but now these days we on our P’s and Q’s. Now it is not a normal relaxed mood. We cannot sit no more, come outside no more, that shooting changed the compound,” he revealed.
For those who feel hopeless, Nicholas said there were other avenues rather than committing crimes.
“Call the hotlines and counsellors and instead of taking on the crime, do better. You are frightening your neighbours. Use the opportunities that the government put in place for us. We are one people, let us do better,” Nicholas said.
Meanwhile, Rupert Blackman who came to shop at Pennywise, said the shooting should serve as a grim reminder to parents that they should do better in raising their children.
“It all starts from home. That level of criminality is outrageous and frightening. You have to live and cannot put yourself under house arrest. This crime thing starts at home, parents have to train their children. Is young people, youths, babies that committing these crimes,” Blackman said.
Meanwhile, a manager at Rattans, located in the Plaza said the incident was scary.
She said when she heard the shots she walked by the door and saw what was happening.
“I tell them to close the door, close the door. We stayed half an hour inside there and collected ourselves and then we left the premises,” she said.
The manager said prayers to God had helped her.
“It is all about prayers, come to work and pray for the best. These things can happen any day and at any time,” she said.
Noting that Pennywise had good security, the manager said she was grateful that counselling was being provided.
Meanwhile, director of Pennywise Dr Shivum Paladee said counsellors were hired to speak to staff throughout the day.
He said anyone suffering from trauma following the ordeal should come forward and accept help without feeling ashamed.