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Eye-witness in Panera shooting: 'I was sitting right next to him for 30 minutes before he shot a cop'

When behavioral analyst Jamie Harrell walked into the bustling Panera Bread in Abingdon on the morning of Feb. 10, she was between house visits with clients and had an hour to grab lunch. She intentionally picked a quiet corner, she said, plopping down on the same bench as a man in a winter coat and jeans who was sitting alone and sipping from a "courtesy cup" of water.

When behavioral analyst Jamie Harrell walked into the bustling Panera Bread in Abingdon on Feb. 10, she was between house visits with clients and had an hour to grab lunch.

She intentionally picked a quiet corner, she said, plopping down on the same bench as a man in a winter coat and jeans who was sitting alone and sipping from a "courtesy cup" of water.

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Harrell — whose identity came to light Tuesday as part of a release of documents and 911 recordings related to the fatal shootings of Harford County Sheriff's Deputies Patrick Dailey and Mark Logsdon — said there were "no red flags" about the man seated near her that February morning. He did not seem like the "vagrant" that police would later describe him as, she said.

The man, later identified as David Brian Evans, displayed no erratic behavior, she said, and wasn't drawing her gaze much.

"Maybe he's meeting his wife or kids for lunch, and that's why he only has the courtesy cup," Harrell remembers thinking, of why he was there without having ordered anything. "That's kind of the story I made up in my head about him."

Then Dailey appeared, approaching the table where Evans sat, drawing Harrell's attention.

Dailey, 52, asked Evans, 68, to verify his identity, and Evans just nodded, Harrell said. Dailey then asked him to step outside, she said.

Suddenly, Evans dropped his hands beneath the table in front of him, Harrell said. "Sir, you need to keep your hands where I can see them," Dailey said.

"Then within a matter of five seconds, there was the pop of the shot and he was on the ground," Harrell said. "I just dropped below the table on to the ground because I didn't know if he was going to shoot someone else."

Harrell's account mirrors one provided by the Harford sheriff's office, which has said Evans shot Dailey before running out of the restaurant and shooting Logsdon in an exchange of fire with other officers that also killed Evans. But Harrell's story also provides new details about how the midday shooting occurred, and the effect it had on those within the restaurant.

Harrell, a 25-year-old Towson University graduate who provides therapy to kids with autism, said she was the closest person to Evans and Dailey when the first shooting occurred.

"I was sitting right next to [Evans] for 30 minutes before he shot a cop," she said.

Harrell lives in Dundalk but travels to her clients' homes across the Baltimore area, and had been going to the Abingdon Panera pretty regularly for about three weeks. That morning didn't seem any different than any other, except that there seemed to be more people around — including kids, she said. Harford County had canceled school that day for expected winter weather, though little precipitation actually materialized.

When Dailey arrived, it drew Harrell's attention as out of the ordinary. She wondered what the issue might be, as Evans hadn't done anything to draw the attention of law enforcement that she had seen.

When Evans pulled out the gun, Harrell was watching from feet away. She watched as Dailey was shot in the head. She watched as Evans jumped up and ran out.

"After that, it was just a whirlwind," she said.

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The scene was gruesome. A large pool of blood began forming all around Dailey's upper body, she said. She was amazed no blood had splashed on her, remembers thinking it must have gone in the other direction.

According to records released by Harford County on Tuesday, Harrell called 911 moments later.

"I'm at the Panera Bread and an officer has just been shot in the eye by a man," Harrell says on the recording. "I think he's done."

Harrell said the scene was hectic.

A mother with three young children "jumped on her kids and huddled them out quickly," trying to convince them a balloon had popped. Others on the other side of the restaurant ran out. Some people chased Evans. A man she believed to be a firefighter rushed to Dailey's side. Harrell said she believed Dailey was already dead, but she didn't know what to do with herself.

She was scared, she said, but also didn't think she should run out of the restaurant, which is what Evans had just done.

"I did not think the threat was gone," she said. "I was glad that he wasn't right next to me anymore, but I didn't know if he was going to turn around. I didn't know if he was shooting people outside."

Others in the restaurant told her not to move, so she didn't, she said — leaving her as the only person within the immediate crime scene, other than first responders, for the next 10 to 15 minutes.

"Then, once more emergency responders got there, I think they realized, 'Oh, we need to get this woman out of here. There is no reason for her to be here while we try to resuscitate him,'" she said.

She moved over to the other side of the restaurant, to sit with other witnesses waiting to give statements. She remembers people filtering their conversations, to avoid scaring children in the restaurant. The group waited about an hour and a half. She remembers hearing from someone checking their phone that another deputy had been shot outside, and being surprised that the incident was already on the news. She remembers people talking about the sadness of law enforcement officers being killed.

The next day, trying to process her experience through her own medical training, she called to schedule an appointment with a therapist.

"It just seemed kind of rote to me," she said. "'OK, this is what you should do when trauma happens. You should go to therapy.'"

She hasn't been back to the Panera since.

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