VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - A Virginia Beach woman stood inches from the mass shooting gunman on May 31, 2019, inside Building 2 of the Virginia Beach Municipal Center.
Britney Jones-Mayfield had been on the job just one week working as an account clerk for the Public Utilities Department for the City of Virginia Beach.
She met her husband for lunch on May 31. He brought her a new pair of shoes to replace one that broke.
“Thank God because I wouldn't have been able to run,” said Jones-Mayfield.
She needed to run later that day to get away from the danger that ended up taking the lives of 12 people.
She said around 4:06 p.m. that afternoon, she heard someone yelling, telling everybody to "get up right now" and run to an office.
Then, she said there was chaos and panic.
“As I looked up from my phone, he was right in front of me - five feet away holding the gun across his chest,” said Jones-Mayfield.
She said dropped her phone as she tried to find safety.
“The shooter was looking directly at me, but it felt like he was looking right through me,” said Jones-Mayfield.
Jones-Mayfield said she took cover in an office with a co-worker and sent texts her mom with her Apple Watch.
“While I was under the desk, I was trying to text my family and tell them what was going on during that time is when the shootout happened. The shootout was directly on the opposite side of the wall of the office,” said Jones-Mayfield.
She said after about 40 minutes of hiding, an officer came to her rescue.
“He said, 'I’m going to get you out of this building. Stay behind me. Don't make any sound. Stay low.'”
She said the SWAT Team was running at them and asked for a key card and she gave them hers.
“They said, 'Go down the stairs. When you get outside, run behind the cars - run as fast as you can,'" said Jones-Mayfield. “As soon as I got to the corner, I saw a dead body with blood everywhere. At that moment, I collapsed of the floor crying and couldn’t move. At that point, another police officer came up behind me, picked me up and carried me out. I remember as soon as we got outside, I asked if we were safe and he said, 'No... run.'"
Jones-Mayfield suffered from PTSD after the shooting. She didn't leave the house for months and said her health was impacted.
She said a fire alarm or loud noise could bring it all back.
She said she tried to return to work, but couldn't be anywhere near Building 2.
She said she was offered a transfer to work in the library, but the job included working nights and weekends, which didn't fit her family's schedule.
Jones-Mayfield received treatment and said her life has gotten better.
She started a new job and loves being with her family.
She continues to heal and works to move forward after experiencing an extremely traumatic situation that changed so many lives.