MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The Ritkes family from Weston is relieved to be back home after being just feet away from the terrorist attack in Barcelona that left 13 people dead and injured more than 100.
“We were screaming terrorists immediately. It was a wave of people…a stampede,” said Gary Ritkes.
The family recorded cellphone video inside a Barcelona cafe as they and other tourists huddled for safety after a suspected terrorist drove a van into the well-known historic district of Las Ramblas – killing and injuring dozens.
The family says someone tried to steal from their mother’s purse and they were dealing with the police officers and the thieves at the precise moment the driver carried out the deadly attack a short distance from them.
“We see the police dart, just run and they left the suspects and us and that was it and we were like, ‘Oh my God.’ It must have been bodies, terrible noises and we ran for our lives,” said Sonia Ritkes.
“It happened so quickly and all of a sudden you see hundreds, maybe thousands of people running at you,” said Gary Ritkes.
After the attack and amidst the chaos, the family of six ran for cover – ducking into a nearby cafe.
“We were hiding behind the bar on the floor and there were people under tables and chairs and I was thinking, ‘Oh my God.’ Even though the main doors were closed, it was glass walls and anybody could just jump in, like break the glass,” said Sonia Ritkes.
“It was screaming. It was chaos. It was SWAT teams all over the place in front and we were able to see out of the windows and all the police were frantically running around. They were all on their walkie talkies,” said Gary Ritkes.
The carnage in the streets is something they will not soon forget but they will also remember how people from all parts of the world came together united in the face of fear.
“There was a family from somewhere in Asia that only spoke Mandarin. There was girl from Italy. There was an Israeli family. There was of course a bunch of Spaniards that only speak Spanish and there was us, who only speak English with the exception of my mom but at the end of the day we were all a team. We were all working together. We’re all trying to just somehow make it through this as strong as possible,” said Beau Ritkes.