The Napier woman caught in the middle of a murderous rampage that claimed six lives has described her ordeal to Hawke's Bay Today.

The serenity of a beachside California town was shattered when Elliot Rodger left his apartment on a killing spree near the campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara, (UCSB) at the weekend.

Mr Rodger stabbed three men to death in his apartment and did a series of drive-by shootings, killing three more people and exchanging gunfire with law enforcement before crashing his BMW and taking his own life.

Amelia Lyons told Hawke's Bay Today she was "doing fine" after Friday's traumatic events. She was lucky to be alive.


Originally from Napier, the 22-year-old had been living an idyllic life with her American boyfriend, UCSB student Artemi Shilov, in Isla Vista on the California coast.

On the night of the shooting, Ms Lyons was walking home from a day's work at telecommunications store AT&T when she saw a police officer running toward her with his gun out. "We were about 100 metres from where Elliot crashed."

Ms Lyons said chaos ensued as she was ushered into a house with her boyfriend.

"I texted my mom and said 'mom, there's been a shooting' but it wasn't on the news at that point. Nobody realised the extent of what had happened."

Ms Lyons said it was "very surreal" to think that she could have found herself in the line of fire if she had finished work minutes earlier. "There's a lot of people sharing that feeling ... I was about 20 metres from where Elliot lived; it's horrible to think there were three people dead in there." Ms Lyons also said her neighbour's friend, was shot 20m from her door in the attack.

The man, who was shot in the scrotum, was a comical guy who was making light of his injuries, Ms Lyons said.

The weather had been overcast and cold. There were still a lot of police around and the mood was sombre.

On Sunday, Ms Lyons attended a candlelit vigil at the University of California campus commemorating the victims.