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Howard Cross was ready for the unknown.
Just over a week ago New York Giants players, coaches and media staffers were inside of Minnesota’s Mall of America. Team members and employees were in town for their Christmas Eve tilt with the Vikings. While inside the mall, a shooting took place resulting in the death of a 19-year-old male.
Now, Giants play-by-play man Bob Papa is sharing his version of the scary scene, including ex-Giants tight end Cross’ plan to use a steak knife to defend himself.
Cross, Papa and Giants.com reporter John Schmeelk were dining together at Twin Cities Grill inside of the mall when the shooting happened.
“There was no exit,” Papa told WFAN radio in New York. “We had just finished our meal, they were starting to bus the table and Cross was like, ”I’m keeping the steak knife.”
Keeping 55-year-old Cross’ steak knife wasn’t the only plan the trio of diners concocted.
“So we grab that and then he started determining which tables we were gonna flip and get behind,” Papa continued telling WFAN. “And then I noticed that there was a little waiter stand in the back of the restaurant in this small little room with benches and stuff in front of it, I’m like, ‘Cross, I’m crawling in there.'”
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Papa, Cross and Schmeelk were not immediately aware of what happened. A restaurant employee passed along word that a shooting had occurred elsewhere in the mall. Around this time, Papa noticed the restaurant becoming much more crowded.
“All of a sudden…the restaurant is really crowded…the waitress came over and said, ‘there was a shooting, the mall is in complete lockdown,'” said Papa.
The mall was locked down for roughly an hour and NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported that Giants GM Joe Schoen was getting position-by-position updates from team security until it was confirmed all players were OK.
“It was pretty scary for about an hour until we got out of there,” added Papa.