An eyewitness to the horrific mass shooting that took place in Las Vegas at a music concert late Sunday night told TODAY that he saw police officers and veterans immediately jump into the line of fire to help anyone they could after the gunman opened fire into the crowd of over 22,000 concert-goers.
According to Russell Bleck, “You saw a lot of ex-military just jump into gear. I saw guys plugging bullet holes with their fingers.” The traumatic experience, which sounds almost too terrifying to be real, will certainly leave both physical and mental scars on its victims.
However, the terrible event also inspired heroes who instinctively sprung to the occasion to provide assistance and protection. Bleck recalls, “While everyone was crouching, police officers (were) standing up as targets, just trying to direct people, tell them where to go. The amount of bravery I saw there, words can’t describe what it was like.”
At the time of the shooting, Bleck was in a VIP tent at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival with his fiance when they heard what they assumed to be firecrackers or a crackling amplifier. He soon realized what was happening after the sounds didn’t stop.
Bleck said, “That was an automatic rifle, without a doubt. He was just spraying the crowd. He was relentless. There was no stopping […] You had five, maybe eight seconds to move from cover to cover to try to move and get out of there as he reloaded.”
As it stands, 59 people have been killed and over 500 more have been injured in what is now considered the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. History. According to authorities, the shooter, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, was targeting the crowd from his hotel room window on the 32nd floors of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. He opened fire on a crowd of over 22,000 people that were gathered to see country music star Jason Aldean perform.
Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo confirmed in a Monday morning news conference that the shooter killed himself before police were able to reach him. If you’ve seen any footage from the devastating night, you’ll have a sense of the chaos and confusion of those who were trapped within the 10-foot-walls of the concert area. Bleck said that he saw people “dropping left and right” as gunfire ricocheted ceaselessly. He couldn’t tell which direction the shots were coming from.
Bleck explains, “There was just no telling. And then it would echo throughout the area, so nobody knew where to go […] And then all of a sudden people would run away from a safe area, but you didn’t know if it was safe. It was absolute chaos and carnage.”
Bleck and his fiance eventually escaped after taking cover beneath some bleachers. He said, “We waited until he reloaded and then moved, just trying to get out of there. There was only one way in and out. And the gunman had that bottlenecked.” He and his fiance finally found a way out through an opening where the food trucks had entered through a police checkpoint. When looking at the footage hours later, he says, “It’s hard to process what just happened.”
If you would like to donate to the victims and families of the horrific Las Vegas mass shooting, Steve Sisolak, the Clark County Commission chair from Las Vegas has set up a verified GoFundMe donation page. Funds will be used to provide relief and financial supports to the victims and families.
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