Eyewitness accounts of a mass shooting at a Las Vegas music festival outline a horrifying ordeal, with hundreds of concertgoers running for their lives.
The mass shooting, which left at least 58 people dead and 515 injured, occurred Sunday night during an outdoor concert at the Route 91 Harvest Festival where musician Jason Aldean was performing.
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Photos and videos emerging from the incident show hundreds running away from the scene around 10 p.m. local time, after shooter Stephen Paddock rained down gunshots from the 32nd floor of a nearby hotel.
A B.C. couple, Paul and Monique Dumas, described hearing what they said seemed like countless gunshots.
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“All of a sudden we heard ‘pop, pop, pop, pop, pop,’ countless times, and we all thought it was firecrackers,” Paul Dumas said.
The couple “hit the ground,” as soon as they realized the sounds were gunshots. Each time the shooter stopped to reload, they recounted standing up and inching away from the scene. Once the shots sounded up again, they hit the ground again.
“I must have heard him do it at least 15 times,” he said.
“You’re thinking this is not happening to us, at the same time you’re thinking, I need to run for my life but I need to hold on to my husband, my sister and my brother-in-law. We need to stay together and we don’t need to panic, we just have to be safe and we need to get away from this.”
A popular tourist spot for Canadians, others visiting from north of the border were also caught in the barrage of gunshots.
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Two Manitobans, Jody Ansell and her friend Jan Lambourne, were injured in the attack. Ansell was shot on her arm, while Lambourne was shot in the abdomen. Both are recovering in hospital.
“It’s very traumatizing, but all I could think about was my family and getting out. It was terrifying for sure,” Ansell said.
Another witness, Ivetta Saldana, who recounted her experience to the Las Vegas Review Journal, first thought the gunshots were fireworks.
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When she realized she was in the midst of a mass shooting, she found cover inside a sewer.
“It was a horror show. People were standing around, then they hit the floor.”
Another witness, Michelle Leonard, was at a vendor booth at the music festival when the attack began. She described the scene as “mass confusion,” as people tried to flee.
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“It sounded like a thousand shots,” Leonard told ABC News. “I had no idea of where it was coming from or where to run to.”
Many other witnesses speaking to news outlets had similar experiences, recalling what seemed like an endless barrage of gunshots.
Speaking to morning show Today, a witness named Russell Bleck said many police officers and military veterans present at the scene took action right away.
“You saw a lot of ex-military just jump into gear. I saw guys plugging bullet holes with their fingers,” he said.
“While everyone else was crouching, police officers (were) standing up at targets, just trying to direct people, tell them where to go.”
Bleck commended the officers for their “bravery,” adding he doesn’t have the words to properly describe it.