Seconds after the Belconnen hotel elevator doors opened at the carpark and Peter Hill saw the broken glass on the concrete, he sensed something was amiss.
A minute later he was in agony, bleeding profusely from a shattered knee and staring down the barrel of a handgun, cocked, aimed at his head and ready to fire.
"I looked right in his eyes and I could tell, yeh, I thought I was dead," he said.
"Simple as that."
The dramatic day of Wednesday, August 18 had started uneventfully.
Mr Hill, his carer, Susan and his companion dog Tigger, had been staying at the near-new Abode Hotel while his Tuggeranong home was being fixed up, ready for him to move in.
He'd suffered a broken femur some weeks back and was walking with the aid of a cane.
Staying around the hotel for a few weeks, he'd heard reports of some vehicle break-ins in the carpark and the police had visited the hotel the previous day, reportedly for an eviction matter.
Mr Hill, 56, wasn't able to drive because of his injured leg so his carer had parked her car close to the elevator in the disabled spot, the two of them planning that morning to drive to the pharmacy to pick up medication.
As they stepped out of the elevator around 9.30am, Mr Hill noticed the glass immediately and called his dog back to him on the lead, concerned it may cut its paws.
"This figure brushed past me to press the elevator button. I looked straight at my carer's car parked there and saw the quarter panel [window] had been smashed," he said.
"I heard this bloke say something like: 'What did you say?'
"I said: 'no mate, I was talking to my dog, calling him back'.
Mr Hill turned and a man in a black tracksuit hoodie, his lower face covered with a dirty white mask, was at the elevator, pushing the call button.
"He said to me: 'What are you looking at?', walked around the back of the elevator, then came back.
"That's when he pulled a handgun out of his pants and pointed it at us."
Mr Hill's carer started screaming. Courageously, Mr Hill pushed her and the dog through the now-open doors of the elevator, telling her to "get the hell out of here".
"This guy was on ice or something; I could tell he was off his head, you know," he said.
"If I hadn't done that [pushed her away], he would have shot both of us in the carpark, I'm sure of it."
But that act of bravery left him alone in the carpark with the gunman, and no way out.
He found out later that the reception staff had locked off the lift as soon as they had learned there was a gunman in their carpark.
"This bloke's in my face, saying to me 'Give me the f---ing key, give me the key [to the car]', but I didn't have it. I'm an Indigenous man so he's calling me everything, black this, black that, full-on racist slurs.
"Then he's pointed the gun at my head saying: 'I'm gonna kill you. I'm gonna kill you'.
"He cocked the gun back and started shaking a bit, I'm not sure what I'm saying to him but I'm trying to back away from him with my cane and I'm telling him 'Just get out of here, get out'."
The gun went off and Mr Hill felt a fierce, burning pain in his knee and dropped to the ground. His carer had dropped the car key so he picked it up and dragged himself to the car, ringing Triple Zero on his phone.
His assailant then came back, put the gun to Mr Hill's head momentarily, then ran off.
Mr Hill's carer bravely returned a short time later and pulled a makeshift torniquet around the bleeding leg as the wounded man groaned in agony.
Their Rae Street, Belconnen team quarters just minutes up the road, black-clad police tactical officers with body armour and semi-automatic rifles at the ready were there quickly but the gunman had already fled, and is still at large.
Investigators obtained CCTV from the hotel carpark entrance but are not willing to publicly release it. They said they were "following several lines of enquiry" in the matter.
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Mr Hill says he is receiving the best of care and from his hospital bed, his shattered left knee heavily swathed in bandages after several lengthy operations, bullet fragments still imbedded within, he hoped that police would catch the gunman quickly.
"I hope they catch him; this guy is dead-set going to kill someone," he said.
"He's still out there, he's off his head and he's going to shoot someone, for sure."
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