Santa Barbara- S County

Shooting Survivor Sierra Swartz Shares Story

18-Year-Old City College Student Encountered Elliot Rodger Friday

Shooting Survivor Sierra Swartz Speaks Out

ISLA VISTA, Calif. - An 18-year-old Santa Barbara City College student encountered the Isla Vista shooter as she walked down the street and lived to tell the tale.

"I was one person, I was not a group of people. He could have easily skipped me and gone for a big group that was on the other side of the road. But the fact that I was a blonde girl walking, just made me an instant target for him," said Sierra Swartz. 

Just a half hour after she was shot at on Friday night, Swartz was crying and didn't fully understand what happened to her. She retraced her steps with NewsChannel 3; finding the bullet holes intended for her.

"This was the one that I felt, I'm almost positive that I felt this," said Swartz, as she pointed to a bullet hole in the fence.

For Swartz, those holes make that harrowing night a reality. The night 22-year-old Elliot Rodger went on a rampage.

"He lifted up a little black pistol and I just thought it was like an airsoft gun or something so I was like, 'Hey, what up?' Then I turned around and I started walking the other way," Swartz on Friday night.

That walk turned into a run for her life after more shots were fired at her. She turned the corner onto Del Playa Drive and ran into the first open door she saw.

"I just ran inside. I just ran in their house and was like, 'I just got shot at. I just got shot at. Please, just let me hang out here for a second,'" she said.

Ryan Gerard and his two friends were on the couch when Swartz and an older homeless man asked to take shelter.

"She was crying saying, 'He has a gun. He has a gun.' And ran right into our house," said Gerard.

They locked the doors, turned off all the lights and called 911.

"I think we did the best job we could have done," he said.

In the light of day, a bullet was found lodged in the side of his house.

The night of the shooting, Swartz was walking down the street back to her house which was just a block away. That's when she saw the black BMW drive up beside her with Rodger in the driver seat.

"He did it so nonchalantly. He was just driving, he smiled at me, said something and then lifted up like this and just started shooting," she said.

Swartz didn't know at the time that six people had already been killed when the gun was pointed at her.

"The fact that I can remember the wind pass through my face. Like, I didn't even know that happened in a gunshot," said said.

Her emotions are ever-changing. She feel everything from sad, angry to empty.

On Sunday she left the small college town to cope back home in San Diego.

As for Gerard, he hasn't slept at home since.

"It's always fine during the day but when it gets dark again, you kind of get his eerie feeling that it's all going to happen over again and when you're sitting there, you kind of think you're going to see this girl and this old man run through the fence again. It's really nerve racking," he said.

Swartz and Gerard haven't seen each other since that night. They both said they want to see each other again, this time with better circumstances.

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