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‘It was horrible’

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    Marisa Mauldin

Southwestern graduate witnesses shooting at the Holocaust Museum

A recent Southwestern graduate on a trip to Washington, D.C., unexpectedly became an eyewitness to history.

Marisa Mauldin, who graduated in May with a degree in math, was visiting the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., June 9 when an 88-year-old man opened fire in the museum and killed a security guard. 

Mauldin was on a trip to the nation’s capital with her grandmother and three cousins. The trip was a present for her graduation.

Mauldin said the group had not planned to visit the Holocaust Museum on the trip, but they got stuck in traffic and found themselves in front of the museum and decided to stop and see it. That was around noon on Tuesday. Mauldin said they couldn’t get on a tour of the museum until 1 p.m., so they visited the small area of the museum that is open for people without reservations. After that, her cousins went out to the car to put more money in the parking meter while she and her grandmother waited inside near the gift shop.

“I had just finished talking with coach (golf coach Dan Ruyle) when I heard gunshots,” Mauldin said. “We ran around the corner and got under a bench.” 

Mauldin said security officials quickly moved visitors into an exhibit room and then into the basement before evacuating them out the back door. While they were being moved, she said she saw the dead security officer laying on the ground. “It was horrible,” she said. 

Despite the trauma, Mauldin said she and her family were determined to enjoy the rest of their visit. They went to Mount Vernon after the shooting and visited the Smithsonian on Thursday. They planned to drive north and visit Gettysburg on Friday before returning to the Austin area on Saturday.

Mauldin recently led the women’s golf team to a fourth place finish in the NCAA tournament. She finished third place individually in the tournament and also was named to the Duramed NGCA Division III All-American First Team.