Tara Carmen expected to have an normal Saturday afternoon when she walked into US Bank on Columbia Center Boulevard in Kennewick 1 p.m. to exchange some Canadian currency.
Like the dozen or so other people in line, she just wanted to do a little business before the bank closed and then move on with her day.
But then a man walked in carrying a gun, and those customers and the tellers expecting to soon end their shifts found themselves in the middle of a bank robbery.
"The guy came in and jumped up on the counter," Carmen said. "He broke some glass -- a vase or something. He started yelling at the teller."
The man was wearing a bicycle helmet, sunglasses and had a black bandanna covering his face, she said.
But what really caught her attention was the gun in his hand. She's no firearms expert and couldn't identify the brand or model, but she knew she needed to move.
"I figured a moving target is harder to hit," Carmen said.
There was a woman with two children in line behind her, and Carmen said she grabbed the woman and the kids and the four of them hustled out the front door while the man on the counter demanded cash from the bank teller.
About 30 seconds after Carmen made it outside, police were swarming the building, she said.
"I was in shock. I kept thinking, 'Is this really happening?' " Carmen said.
Kennewick police Officer Aaron Hamel said he just finished another call nearby and was among the first officers to arrive at the bank.The suspect was already gone, and police believe he took off on a bicycle. They found an abandoned bike behind Regal Cinemas in the Columbia Center mall parking lot.
Hamel said the suspect most likely got into a car from there.
Police are looking for information from anyone who might have seen the suspected robber or the getaway car.
Police described the suspect as a white male, possibly in his 30s, average height and weight, wearing a white T-shirt, brown cargo shorts, as well as the white bicycle helmet, sunglasses and a bandanna.
Hamel did not have an estimate how much money was taken. The robbery is under investigation.
Hours after the robbery, Carmen was still shaken by the experience.
"I hope they catch him," she said. "I really hope the teller is OK."
Hamel said the gun was never fired and no injuries were reported.
Anyone with information can call the Crime Stoppers line at 586-8477 or 800-222-8477.