Rene thought it was balloons popping the first time the gun went off. The Red Robin restaurant where she waited tables had them up front. But, she says when people started yelling, "Get down!" she knew it was a gun.
Rene tells News Ten she dove for cover underneath a booth, where, she says, Levon Pate joined her with a gun. Rene says Pate put the gun to her head, forcing her to her feet. Rene says she put her arms in the air to show police she was innocent, hoping they wouldn't shoot.
Rene says Pate then led her outside to the back of the restaurant where they were then surrounded by police. Rene looked at the situation, a man with a gun to her head, surrounded by police aiming their guns at the couple. She says she was sure somebody was going to shoot, either the police at Pate, in which case she thought they would miss him and hit her, or Pate would fire the gun aimed at her head.
Shots were fired. Pate was hit in the chest, Rene in the hip. She suffered a split femur and a shattered hip. Titanium rods have been placed in both, and she is expected to make a full recovery in a year's time.
Thursday, she came face to face with the man accused of taking her hostage for the first time since that night, at Levon Pate's preliminary hearing. She was worried about the hearing, believing all the memories would come flooding back. But, she made it through and says she'll be even better should she have to testify at trial.
Rene is amazingly strong after her ordeal. She is able to talk about the shooting when people ask, and says she will be able to put it behind her.