20 years ago this week, a mass shooting on a Long Island Railroad train left six dead and 19 wounded, and survivors of the massacre have spoken in a new documentary about the terror they experienced that day.
Colin Ferguson carried out the massacre on Dec. 7, 1993 and is serving a life sentence in prison.
Several survivors shared their horrifying memories in the Investigation Discovery documentary “Terror On A Train” that premiered Wednesday night.
Tom McDermott, who was on the train when the shooting started, said “total panic set in” after people realised what was going on.
“I heard four loud cracks against the windows of the third car, directly across from me,” he said. “As I got to the front of the car, the aisles had become literally littered with bodies.”
Shooting victim Robert Giugliano remembers seeing a young woman get shot: “Some bullets are flying around, and this girl, Maria, who was sitting next to me, she starts crawling and I’m looking at her saying ‘No! No! Don’t go there!’ … Before you know it, she looked up, he was, I don’t know, maybe 8 to 10 feet away, and he pointed and shot her. Shot her in the head. Her head exploded right next to me, it was all over. It was horrible.”
Giugliano was shot in the arm and chest that day.
Retired homicide detective Brian Parpan said in the documentary that it was “the most carnage [he’d] ever seen.”
He recalled what he saw when he arrived on scene: “One end of the train to the other, strewn with clothing, with briefcases, with shoes, and there are a number of bodies that are still on the train.”
Shooting victim Kevin Zaleskie said the massacre only took about two minutes.
He recalled: “I pulled my briefcase up over my head and shoulders, and I thought I was going to die right there.”
Eventually, people on the train were able to subdue Ferguson and hold him down.
Another survivor, Lisa Combatti, told the incredible story of how she and her unborn child narrowly escaped death: “When we looked at the X-ray, we could see my spine, the baby’s spine, and the bullet right in the middle of it. And it was just dramatic to realise how lucky we were.”
Ferguson, who reportedly suffered from mental illness, showed no remorse for his crimes. He represented himself during trial, and victims had to face him in court.
Combatti said: “I thought the trail would give me closure, but … to this day I can’t tell you why this took place.”
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