DALLAS - A Dallas woman and her friend were shopping in Barcelona when the deadly terrorist attack happened Thursday.
Amy Howell describes screaming followed by people running for their lives. She says fate or God intervened and saved her life.
Howell says her sunglasses broke while she and her friend, Valerie Istre, were walking through the busy streets of Las Ramblas District.
Moments after they walked inside a store to search for a new pair, Howell heard a horrible commotion, not knowing a van had just plowed through a group of people.
“I'm looking at the sunglasses. And all of a sudden, I hear people screaming,” Howell recalled. “And I'm looking at the street and I'm looking at the people running and by, and they have this look of terror on their face.”
The "look of terror" was sparked by a van that ran over dozens of people just a few hundred feet from where the Howell and her friend were shopping. They barricaded themselves inside a store along with some 30 other people.
“We were pulling down the security doors. We were locking them, and they turned off the music,” she recalled. “It got extremely quiet.”
Howell says a woman inside the store suffered some sort of medical emergency. But there was no way to get her help since they were trapped while police hunted for the attacker.
“We were sitting there watching her, and they couldn't revive her. It was horrible, it was awful,” she recalled. “At the end of the day, someone was able to give her CPR, and she was able to recover.”
Howell and Istre weren't the only people with ties to North Texas in Barcelona at the time of the terror attack.
Former Lancaster High School basketball standout, Elijah Thomas, was in the city along with the Clemson men's basketball team to play in a tournament against Oregon. The university tweeted the entire team is ok.
Elijah’s former coach and friend, Wes Grandstaff, reached him by phone.
“You realize here today, gone tomorrow. And that's every day, let them know you love them,” he said. “You know when he and I hang up the phone, we always say love you.”
Back at the scene and still trapped inside the store, Howell wanted to tell her husband and kids back home in Dallas the same thing, not knowing if she’d make it out alive.
“The lights were being turned off, and we heard gunshots,” she recalled. “And I just said, 'Ok, tell the kids I love them. I love you guys. I love them,’ and we've had a great amazing life.”
Howell says they were trapped inside the store for three hours before police rescued them and escorted them to safety. Howell and her friend are flying back to Dallas on Saturday.