Nashville Man Saves Lives During Kenya Mall Attack - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Nashville Man Saves Lives During Kenya Mall Attack

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by Shannon Royster

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Scott Gilpin had been to Africa a countless number of times before, so he knew the Westgate Mall in Kenya well, but this time he said his trip was anything but normal.

"About a 100 yards from the entrance I heard the first shots and people started screaming," said Gilpin. "I knew something was out of the ordinary, something was horribly wrong."

On September 21, several gunmen stormed the mall killing at least 72 people, and Gilpin of Nashville was there. "When hearing the grenades I knew this was more than a carjacking or a robbery," he said.

Gilpin is the executive director of fund development for the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. He was sent to Nairobi to provide educational materials to seminarians and to teach them development and fundraising skills. Something co-workers say he loves.

"Scott is one of those kind of guys he just wants to help others," said Steve Horswill-Johnston with the United Methodist Church.

Little did Gilpin know he'd also be saving lives. He said he rushed to grab a mother and her two children out of harms way.

"You could hear indiscriminate fire rounds coming over us, so we got behind a car," said Gilpin.

"I could see them shooting people on the ground who were trying to hide."

Yet Gilpin was far enough away from the mall's entrance to help lead a total of five people to safety. "I struggle with truthfully the guilt of why did I survive when others around me died," he said."

Gilpin ended up extending his trip four extra days to volunteer for the red cross. He wanted to help those injured in the attack.

Gilpin could've been inside the mall during the attack instead of the parking lot, but the colleague he was supposed to meet for lunch was running late. Therefore, he arrived later than he had originally planned. That delay quite possibly saved his life.

More than 200 people were wounded in that mass shooting. So far - 16 people have been taken into custody. They are scheduled to appear in court on Monday.


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