NBC News   |  April 19, 2013

Gunfight witness: It was ‘pop, pop, pop, pop!’

Stetphen McAlpin and his wife recount the shootout that happened outside their home as police traded gun fire with the Boston Marathon attack suspects that resulted in the death of one of the two suspects.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> very patient with us. the shootout happened in front of their home. remember we're talking approximately 12:40 a.m . at least one, if not both of them on the phone with us. can you hear us?

>> yes.

>> okay, thank you for talking to us. again, we have been saying the same thing all night long. especially folks in boston. your late local news coverage comes on. we're still in the aftermath of the marathon bombing. the new development is pictures are coming out of the two suspects. then you hear about cambridge, the m.i.t. campus. that changes things. and you're in your home. what do you remember next?

>> i mean, it was about 12:40 . we had just gone into our bedroom. we were watching tv in the living room and had just laid down. all of a sudden we heard this loud pop. it sounded like fireworks to us. i turned to emily and asked what was that. it got really loud and closer and it was like pop, pop, pop, pop.

>> we saw orange lights from whatever was blowing up.

>> so emily looked out the window and saw an orange flash. we got down on the ground and emily told me to call 911. i picked up the phone and they told me there was gunshots and there was a car chase and we just hung up the phone at that point. i was like emily , we have to get out of this bedroom. the gunshots were continuing. we just -- we heard glass break. we started crawling into the kitchen of our home. as we were crawling, we saw a large flash. it was liken explosion and we got underneath our kitchen table and we just continued to hear gunshots. it was much louder and felt closer. we just saw people running around. there was so much yelling. and then i think there was another explosion at that point. and i'm a grown man, but yet at that point, i was terrified. i was holding my wife under the table, holding my dog, and it got real for us. we realized that we could die. we knew what was going on. it was in our home. and at that moment, i was like, emily , i love you. i'm so glad you're my wife. and we're christians so we prayed together. jesus, there's nothing we can do, please save us . and we prayed for god's grace to protect us and protect our neighbors. just sat there and things just continued to go on. we moved into our bathroom then and got in the bathtub as things were continuing. and after about 30 minutes the police came and knocked on our door and started showing us what had happened. we saw that some bullets had come through into our living room . what had come through the wall and hit the tv and stopped right there. and taking out pictures. and then we saw that a bullet had gone through the wall outside to our upstairs neighbor who is have kids. it it had gone right over the kid's bunk beds. our car as well had suffered damage. the police officers were marking the evidence and we just saw so many bullets and shells around the side of our house. then off to the front there were bull ets lodged in our tv and our car and our home.

>> we had just been waiting to see what's going to happen.

>> so since then we've just been really staying in our kitchen trying to stay safe. but it's just overwhelming to us that all this happened. we just feel blessed to be safe. we know how easily things could have gone poorly for us. we're just thankful for god's grace in protecting us. i don't really know. it doesn't feel real. you never think in your home when you're safe and trying to sleep that bullets are going to come through. and that explosions are going to happen. for us it's -- i think it's changed things for us. we're in shock. i haven't been able to go to sleep. so we're exhausted, but we've just been trying to share about what happened and try to tell people about hope we found in god during this dark time.

>> i don't know where to begin. you should be able to live your entire life in america without ever once huddling in your kitchen under active fire and fearing for your life. i suppose the list of things you feared last night was not only is someone going to make a mistake, is not only are we in a cross fire situation here, but are the cops coming in? are they going to make a mistake themselves? are the bad guys coming in here? have they decided to make our home their last stand? i just can't imagine. and anyone who has been in active gunfire, especially in the dark, especially when you don't have the upper hand, there's nothing scarier.

>> yeah, that's exactly what we were thinking.

>> it's not unheard of to have folks like you put everything in the car and drive as far west as you can and buy a plot of land and stay there.

>> yeah, we don't really e know what to make of our time here. we're trying to think through what's happened and love our own neighbors here and look at this as an opportunity to speak out of our experience to them. but we don't know what's ahead for us. we don't know what the next few days are going to look like. we're trusting in our law officials. we feel so safe now that there are hundreds or thousands of police and military just surrounding our home. they made a base of the area here. we're just trying to pray for them and pray for our city and peace. we just want this to end. we want life to return to peace as best as it can. i think a lot of people will be struggling with how do we go from this back to what we call normal life .

>> i'd like to be able to assure you that suddenly something turned and you're now living in what may be the safest neighborhood in america. let me ask you, where are you from originally and what brought you both from watertown?

>> we're both originally from st. louis, missouri. i originally came out to the greater boston area to go to seminary at gordon conwell . and then emily followed me. we got married and have been working at a local church here called hope fellowship. they are training me to learn how to start a church and just share god's love with people. that's what we're doing in the area here. we're just trying to -- we love the city here and we love to be a part of the area. boston is normally such a fun and vibrant place to live. moving forward we hope that we can just keep loving people here and challenging people to share in our hope too.

>> well, my hats off to you for the generosity of spirit that i'm hearing in your reaction after what you've been through last night. and thank you for sharing your story with us. i know the st. louis arch is going to look nice to you when you go home and visit next time. i hope you go down and enjoy yourself some good jazz music on the water. but for now, for your life in watertown, i'm sure there are a lot of good people around you to keep you safe. and as you process your memories of last night, you know, i guess we're lucky in the knowledge this is an aberration and e we live in a safe nation and for the most part you have a safe home and a safe town except for these bad elements that we're sitting here talking about. we've been listening to steven and emily mcalpen who just had a hellish night in their home with their dog under their kitchen table under fire. richard engel ,