A Manitoba woman is recovering in hospital after she was shot in the arm when a gunman opened fire at a Las Vegas concert Sunday evening, killing at least 58 people and injuring more than 500 others.
Jody Ansell, from Stonewall, Man., said she standing in the crowd listening to country music star Jason Aldean, who was performing at the end of the three-day Route 91 Harvest Festival. That’s when the gunman opened fire across the street from inside the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino.
Ansell was at the concert with her girlfriend, Jan Lambourne, who is from Teulon, Man. The two friends travelled to Las Vegas together on Thursday to attend the festival, something Ansell said she has been doing for four years now.
“All of a sudden, it sounded like a machine gun,” Ansell told Global News from her hospital room in Las Vegas Monday morning.
“We were looking at each other, like what the heck. Then we heard more noise and thought it was fireworks.”
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That’s when people started to drop, take cover and run.
“My girlfriend dropped, she was shot in the stomach, and then I was shot in the arm. I was bleeding all over,” she said. Ansell said it seemed like it was 20 minutes straight of shooting. The crowd was hysterical, like stampeding cattle,” she said.
“There was just more and more shots fired and people were running. It was just crazy.”
People were yelling to duck and take cover, but Ansell said she decided to run. “All I thought about was my family, my two kids. I just wanted to get back to them.”
She took off her shoes and ran barefoot down a gravel path. She saw a chain-link fence and tried jumping over, but got stuck. She yelled at someone to help push her over. Once she was able to get over the fence, she ran for help.
“I tried to flag someone down, but no one was stopping,” she said. “I decided to get in front of a car and thought ‘they are either going to hit me or going to stop.”
The women in the car stopped and Ansell jumped in — she says she was bleeding everywhere. They took her to get help and she was soon rushed to a Las Vegas hospital.
Wanting to get home
Ansell lost her phone in the chaos but was able to publish a post to her Facebook account, letting people know she was recovering in the hospital Monday. She was then able to get hold of her two children and husband to let them know she was OK.
“I also found out my girlfriend was shot in the stomach, but underwent surgery and is now in stable condition,” she said.
Ansell’s husband is flying from Vancouver to Las Vegas Monday to help bring her home. She does not know when she will be able to get home, as she was staying at the Mandalay Bay Hotel, the same place where the shooter was. The hotel is currently on lockdown so she said she does not know when she can grab her luggage.
“I hope I get home soon, I just want to see my kids,” she said.
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Other Canadians in attack
There were other Canadians at the three-day Route 91 Harvest Festival.
Jordan McIldoon, 25, from Maple Ridge, British Columbia, was killed in the shooting. He is the first Canadian publicly identified as someone killed in what is now known to be the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.
Monique Dumas, also from B.C., said she was at the concert, six rows from the front of the stage when she thought she heard a bottle breaking, and then a burst of popping sounds that may have been fireworks. She said as she made her way out, it was “organized chaos” as everyone fled. “It took four to five minutes and all that time there was gunfire.”
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Quinn Mell-Cobb and his girlfriend, Madison Milford travelled from Vancouver to Las Vegas to also attend the festival. He said he thought the gunfire was fireworks or bottle rockets at first. When he realized it was gunfire, he “hit the deck” and tried to cover his girlfriend. The couple was able to get out of the chaos without any injuries.
Calgarian, Steve Chwyl was also at the concert but said he left right before the shooting started.
Police have released the name of the suspect as 64-year-old Stephen Craig Paddock. Police believe he killed himself in his hotel room before officers got inside. Officers are searching the hotel room and Paddock’s home in Mesquite, about 140 kilometres from Las Vegas.
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