‘Active shooter! Man down!’ Mueller employee recalls terrifying moments during mass shooting

Karen Porch says she keeps reliving those moments in her head.

Posted: Jun 16, 2021 6:39 PM
Updated: Jun 17, 2021 1:36 PM

"Man down! Active shooter! Man down!" a shaky voice announced over the intercom inside Mueller plant early Tuesday morning.

Karen Porch had just walked into the break room when she and other employees heard the terrifying message.

"I thought was this can't be happening. It doesn't happen around here. This isn't what I'm hearing," Porch said. "We just kind of stood there like a deer in headlights!"

The message came over the intercom again and that's when she knew it was serious.

"Whenever I thought of being in a situation like that, I thought I would always be strong. I would never be afraid, but you are afraid. If it's not for you, it's for everybody around you," Porch said. "Looking at kids half my age, and my concern is if this is going to be there last night here."

Plant supervisors moved Porch and around 30 other employees to a maintenance area. There she called her son Bradley.

"I just said, 'Son want to tell you that I love you.' Then, I hung up the phone," Porch said.

She also called her sister who is a Birmingham police officer.

"I said, 'Sis, are you awake? We got an active shooter. What do I do?'" she recalled.

She said her sister was able to keep her calm and communicated her message with local law enforcement officials. Eventually, officers moved Porch and her co-workers. Now, they are all feeling pain.

"We all lost someone. We all work with those people and we all love those people, so it hurts," Porch explained.

Porch says she keeps reliving those terrifying moments in her head.

"I see my friends faces. I see the situation going down. I hear the intercom going off. I'm jerky. I feel like I should be watching my back because you don't know who's having a bad day," Porch said.

However, she knows she and her co-workers will be able to move forward.

"We'll all get through this. You know, we won't get over it, but we can go through it," Porch said.

This morning, Porch wrote the following poem regarding the shooting: 

Did we hear what we just heard is this real.

Should we run, walk, hide or stand still.

The scared but brave voice over the intercom just warned us all.

There is a shooter here and we've had at least one to fall.

Man down , active shooter, man down

With a panic but strong will to get the word around. Man down.

He beep the phone again until we all new it was for real.

Active shooter , E team foundry paintline, now it so surreal.

We didn't know how many or where they was going or if they had gone.

But we all gathered together , we was not going down alone.

Some of us called love ones to say we loved them and to let them know.

Because you never never have an idea when it's your time to go.

Sis can you hear me are you awake,

There's an active shooter here what measures do I take.

I'm not afraid of dying but these are just young people I work with and care about.

But they are the strongest and the bravest at this time no doubt.

When they cleared us and we came out hands up.

No one bitched or gryped that day we all shut up.

We are family, we are friends, co workers and now survivors unlike a few we lost that day.

We are more aware of who might be depressed or upset in any way

It's not always the ones you think or say.

It was our friend that we trusted and loved.

Thank the Lord for who did survive thank God above.

Pray for the ones we lost and the ones fighting to live.

I love you brother/sister need anything should not be hard words to give

I know work will go on and we will clock back in.

But not without missing a family or a friend.

God be with everyone.

Karen

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