Then he saw the blood streaming down his left arm and felt a stinging pain there.
"I could hear my wife, Carrie, yell, 'Get down! Get down!"' he said, "but I didn't."
Schaffart, 34, an Omaha attorney, and wife Carrie were on the third floor of the Von Maur department store Wednesday when a man began shooting, forcing holiday shoppers to flee and barricade themselves in dressing rooms.
Robert A. Hawkins, 19,before turning his gun on himself, in a shooting rampage at an Omaha shopping mall, police said.
"I thought they were balloons or, you know, some kind of construction going on," Schaffert told CBS' The Early Show.
He and his wife eventually made their way into the women's restroom up there on the third floor.
The 34-year-old attorney used a necktie as a tourniquet to staunch the bleeding.
"The bleeding, thankfully, was not that bad, he told The Early Show.
Medical center representatives said they treated two other victims from the mall shooting: Fred Wilson, 61, who suffered a bullet wound to his chest. He had been in surgery for about six hours and was in critical condition in the intensive care unit Wednesday night. Wilson is a retired English teacher and was working as a customer service manager at Von Maur, a spokesman said.
Also hurt, a 55-year-old male who cut his face when he ran into a clothing rack. He was discharged.
Creighton University Medical Center spokeswoman Lisa Stites said one victim was dead upon arrival there, another died sometime after arriving, and a third, a woman, was in critical condition late Wednesday.
"I feel exceedingly lucky and fortunate to have made it through today," said Schaffart. "My heart goes out to those that didn't, and the families of those that weren't so lucky."