A woman claiming to be the winner of the $1.08 billion Powerball jackpot was seen at the California convenience store where the ticket was being sold.
An unidentified woman evidently overcome with emotion has been caught on video eagerly embracing people at the unassuming little Las Palmitas market in downtown Los Angeles. Reporters at the store tried to interview the woman, who may hold the third largest jackpot in Powerball history, but she seemed too eager to talk.
“I can’t even … I can’t,” she said, fighting back tears of joy. “I am afraid now, I am very afraid.”
She managed to nod when asked if she was the winner, but when she rushed out of the store, the woman collapsed to her knees and continued to cry while waving her hands in the air. Then she drove off in her BMW, according to her Inside Edition.
Nabor Herrera, owner of the Las Palmitas mini market, told the outlet he thought she was a “fake” because he did not recognize the woman. However, Mr. Herrera’s daughters said they believed the woman was the daughter of a customer who bought the ticket.
The California Lottery said the official process to officially determine the winner will take longer.
“Anyone who claims to be a winner is not valid until we say they are,” spokeswoman Carolyn Baker said at a press conference outside the Las Palmitas MiniMarker Thursday morning.
The winner took home an estimated $1.08 billion, the sixth largest in store history in the United States, while store owners also won a $1 million bonus for selling a lucky ticket. The winning numbers in the Wednesday night drawing were the white 7, 10, 11, 13, 24 and the red Powerball 24.
Mr. Herrera said KTV-LA He didn’t realize he had sold the winning ticket until he got to work early Thursday and saw the heavy media presence outside the shop.
“I tell you, it came as a surprise to me, I didn’t know what photography was or what,” said the father of four.
Herrera, who has owned the store for seven years, said he plans to use the seller’s $1 million bonus to expand his business and take his family on vacation to Cabo San Lucas or Cancun, Mexico.
The big prize also helped raise money for the California public school system – for every ticket sold, 80 cents goes to public school funding.
“With this jackpot grown for 39 different draws, the California Lottery has raised nearly $80 million for public schools in the past three months alone,” Baker said.
The California Lottery announced Wednesday that only one ticket across the country matches all six numbers in the lottery. Seven additional tickets matched 5 numbers, the organization said – meaning those ticket holders would also win a prize of $448,750 each.
“Golden State luck was in force as California also sold seven additional tickets matching just the missing 5 numbers Powerball, winning $448,750 each, at Hayward, La Puente, Los Angeles, Northridge, San Francisco, Santa Clara and South Lake Tahoe,” the lottery said in a tweet.
Las Palmitas Mini Marker is located near the famous Skid Row neighborhood of Los Angeles and is only a 30-minute drive from the convenience store in Altadena where Powerball winner Edwin Castro bought his ticket to a $2.04 billion jackpot last November.
The jackpot winner can choose the total jackpot paid out in either yearly or one-time increments.