Brandon told The Associated Press that he was at the Sparetime Recreation bowling alley on Wednesday night when gunfire suddenly erupted in the family-friendly establishment.
“We were inside, just a normal night of bowling. Out of nowhere he just came in and there was a loud pop,” he said.
At first, Brandon said he mistook the noise for balloons popping before he turned and saw the gunman brandishing a rifle inside the bowling alley.
Fearing for his safety, he said he ran down the lane and slid into the machinery.
“I thought it was a balloon, I had my back turned to the door,” he said.
“And as soon as I turned and saw it was not a balloon, he was holding a weapon, I just booked it down the lane and I slid basically in where the pins are and climbed on the machine.”
Brandon said he heard around 10 gunshots ring out and that the shooter came within around 15 feet of him.
“He was close, very close,” he said.
The gunman appeared not to see him in his hiding place and he stayed there until police arrived minutes later.
Brandon said that he’d just arrived at Sparetime Recreation shortly before the shooting occured.
“I just went there to bowl by myself and I wasn’t even in there 10 minutes, I just walked in the place,” he said. “I was putting on my bowling shoes when it started. I’ve been barefoot for five hours.”
The bowling alley was the first of two locations targeted on Wednesday night leaving many dead and person of interest Robert Card at large.
The shootings unfolded at around 6.56pm when a gunman stormed two locations in Lewiston and opened fire on people inside.
The first location targeted was Sparetime Recreation, a bowling alley popular among families and children.
Lewiston city councillor Robert McCarthy said that there was a children’s party going on there at the time.
A second shooting then unfolded minutes later around four miles away at the Schemengees Bar & Grille Restaurant.
Police received reports of shooting incidents in the two locations and responded to the scenes to find multiple casualties.
At least 18 people are dead and 13 injured from the shooting, officials confirmed on Thursday morning.
Initial reports had also suggested that there may have been a shooting in a third location at a Walmart Distribution Centre but this later turned out to be incorrect.
Walmart released a statement late on Wednesday saying: “There was no shooting on Walmart’s property. The distribution center was locked down and police searched the facility. They did not find anything and no one was hurt.”
Now, an intensive manhunt is underway for Mr Card, who is named as a person of interest in the shootings.
Mr Card, 40, is a US Army Reservist and a certified firearms instructor, meaning he is well-trained in the use of firearms.
Law enforcement officials said that he had recently made threats to carry out a shooting at a National Guard facility in Saco and had reported mental health issues including hearing voices.
He also spent two weeks in a mental health facility this summer.
Mr Card’s family members have revealed their shock at his potential ties to the shootings, with the 40-year-old’s sister-in-law telling The Daily Beast that they are “shaken” by the news.
“I am with police right now and my children [are] terrified and shaken, so I do not have a comment on anything right now,” she said.
Police identified him as a suspect after posting terrifying surveillance footage grabs on Facebook of the shooter entering one of the two locations armed with a rifle.
Lewiston police also shared a photo of a white SUV wanted in connection to the shooting and asked the public to contact authorities if they saw it.
At around 11.30pm, police confirmed that the suspect’s car had been found in Lisbon – around eight miles from Lewiston – but that he remained missing.
Residents in Auburn, Lewiston and Libson are all being urged to shelter in place and businesses told to shutter as the manhunt continues.
Police expanded the shelter-in-place to Bowdoin – where the suspect lives – early on Thursday morning.
The suspect has been described as “armed and dangerous” and members of the public have been warned not to approach him if they see him.