Zoey Levesque was attending practice with her youth league at Just-In-Time Recreation bowling alley in Lewiston, Maine, on Wednesday night when a gunman stormed the building and opened fire.
One of the bullets grazed the little girl as she and her mother Meghan Hutchinson ran for cover and desperately barricaded themselves in a back room.
Speaking to ABC News on Thursday, the 10-year-old was struggling to come to terms with the fact that she is now among a growing list of victims and survivors of mass shootings.
“Why do people do this?” she asked.
“I never thought I’d grow up and get a bullet in my leg,” she said.
“Why? Why do people do this? I don’t really know what to say.”
Zoey’s mother recalled how she first heard a “loud pop” and turned to see the gunman inside the family-friendly establishment.
“When I turned around, I saw the shooter right behind me,” said Ms Hutchinson.
“He had just come in the door.”
The mother and daughter ran towards a set of doors between the bowling lanes but, as they fled, one of the bullets grazed Zoey’s leg.
“My pants had, like, a bullet thing in it and then I looked and it wasn’t deep. It was just like a scrape,” she said.
Zoey said that her injury didn’t scare her at the time – because she was so fearful as to whether she would make it out alive.
“I was scared, but it didn’t hurt, and I didn’t know what happened until I started bleeding,” she said.
“I wasn’t worried about that. I was more worried about, like, am I going to live? Am I going to make it out of here? Like, what’s going to happen? Are the cops going to come?”
The mother and daughter made it to a back room with other families and barricaded themselves inside.
While the children hid under tables, the adults moved a shelf to block the gunman from getting through the door.
Ms Hutchinson recalled another child in the room bleeding heavily from a bullet wound in his arm.
Sometime later, police officers arrived and freed them from the building.
Speaking of her horror about what happened, Zoey said: “People shouldn’t be coming in and doing that, that’s not okay.”
While the 10-year-old only suffered minor injuries, others were far less fortunate.
In total, 18 people were killed in the shootings which took place across two locations on Wednesday night.
Maine police said that the gunman first targeted the popular bowling alley just before 7pm, killing seven people, including one female and six males.
The suspect then headed to the Schemengees Bar & Grille Restaurant and opened fire there minutes later, according to authorities.
Seven males were killed inside the restaurant and one male was killed outside.
Three other victims died after they were taken to a local hospital.
Another 13 were injured in the attacks, Maine Governor Janet Mills confirmed in a press conference on Thursday.
The conditions of those injured remain unclear.
Now, a manhunt is underway to catch Robert Card – the “armed and dangerous” suspect and trained firearms instructor wanted in connection to the shootings.
Police identified Mr Card as a person of interest after the gunman was captured on terrifying surveillance footage entering the bowling alley armed with a rifle and after he was linked to the suspect’s white SUV.
The vehicle was then located close to a boat landing in Lisbon – around eight miles from Lewiston – late on Wednesday night though there was no sign of Mr Card.
Residents in Auburn, Lewiston and Lisbon are all being urged to shelter in place and businesses were told to shutter as the manhunt continues.
Bowdoin – where Mr Card lives – was also placed under a shelter-in-place order on Thursday morning.
Mr Card has been described as “armed and dangerous” and members of the public have been warned not to approach him if they see him.
Due to Mr Card’s experience in the military, he is well-trained in the use of firearms.
Mr Card, 40, is a US Army reservist and a certified firearms instructor, meaning he is well-trained in the use of firearms.
The US Army confirmed that he joined in 2002 and has had no combat deployments. He is currently a Sgt 1st class and Petroleum Supply Specialist.
Law enforcement officials said that Mr Card had recently made threats to carry out a shooting at a National Guard facility in Saco and had reported mental health issues including hearing voices.
He spent two weeks in a mental health facility this summer.
Mr Card’s family members have revealed their shock at his potential involvement, with the 40-year-old’s sister-in-law telling The Daily Beast that they are “shaken” by the news.
“I am with police right now and my children [are] terrified and shaken, so I do not have a comment on anything right now,” she said.