Bakery turned barricade

Extraordinary efforts from Rheinlander Bakery staff keeps citizens safe during shooting

Ryan Dunn
rdunn@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 6/22/21

Alex Reid, the production manager for Rheinlander Bakery located in Olde Town, said he was working in the bakery when he heard what sounded like a firecracker go off, followed by two more. He said …

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Bakery turned barricade

Extraordinary efforts from Rheinlander Bakery staff keeps citizens safe during shooting

Posted

Alex Reid, the production manager for Rheinlander Bakery  in Olde Town, said he was working in the bakery when he heard what sounded like a firecracker go off, followed by two more. He said it sounded like the shots were coming from the square area at 57th and Old Wadsworth, near the library.

Reid said his staff moved quickly at that point, ushering employees and customers to a secluded stock room further in the building, where the group barricaded themselves in. They waited until police arrived, who eventually ushered everyone out the back of the building and to safety.

Reid said his employee, Caeliegh Cole, was at the front of the bakery when it happened and reacted quickly, even ushering in people from off the street to get them to safety. 

“Amazing teamwork ensued,” said Reid, “from every one of my employees. Caeliegh Cole was the front of house employee that got people off the street and locked the front door. She was so quick to respond.”

Cole said the sight of people fleeing the apparent gunshots prompted her to spring into action.

“I was standing near the front and I heard shots,” said Cole. “It took me a second to realize what it was, and I saw people running outside — I saw families and kids. I went up, ran for the door, I called everyone I could inside.

“It was a mom and her daughter,” Cole continued, “and they had been customers — the daughter was still holding a cupcake — and there was a father and his three kids, and I helped them all inside and I told them to go in the back past the counters … with all the employees.”

Cole said at that point she realized she hadn’t grabbed the key to the front door and retrieved it before trying to close and lock the door as quickly as possible. Rheinlander’s slow door closer prompted Cole to forcefully pull the door shut, adding to the panic.

After securing the front door, Cole ran upstairs to the stockroom where staff, customers and passersby were seeking shelter.

Cole said that upon arriving to the stockroom, she discovered that one of the women she had brought in from the street had sustained an injury while trying to evade gunfire.

“Everyone upstairs was really panicked,” said Cole. “One of my co-workers was sobbing in tears, and we are missing some people — they ended up being in a downstairs closet. One lady had been hit by some shrapnel or one dude said she might have been burned by a casing or something. It was a really tiny burn on her back, but it was bleeding a little bit.

“But luckily,” Cole continued, “the father I ushered in was a doctor. He took a look at it and she was pretty OK, I just had her sit down and we just sat there, and I tried to comfort my co-workers and the kids because their dad was on the phone.”

After a while, Reid went downstairs to stand lookout for police officers. Once they arrived, Reid showed the responding officers to the people barricaded in the stockroom and the downstairs closet. The police then escorted everyone barricaded out the back door and to the parking lot behind the Elks Lodge.

After a debriefing period, all those sequestered at Rheinlander’s were allowed to go home. The woman who sustained an injury fleeing the shooting was treated by EMT’s and discharged without being admitted to the hospital, according to Cole.

Arvada Mayor Marc Williams said effort of Good Samaritans like Cole is on-brand for the Arvada community. 

“It is quintessential Arvada,” said Williams, “that everyone pulled together to protect each other and keep each other safe.”

Cole added that being in an active shooter situation is one of her worst fears and took solace in her response to the situation despite the dire circumstances.

“I have nightmares about things like this happening,” said Cole, “and it’s definitely one of my worst fears. I guess I’m proud of myself to know that when faced with one of my worst fears I ran to help rather than doing nothing. I also feel kind of stupid for running right toward the danger. But everyone has told me that they’re really proud of me.

“I’m just glad nothing happened to me or anybody I was trying to help,” Cole continued.

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