Several Albertans who were at a Las Vegas music festival describe pure panic when a mass shooting started on Sunday night.
At least 58 people are confirmed to have died and 515 were injured after a lone gunman opened fire from a 32nd floor hotel room, raining bullets down on an outdoor music festival on the Las Vegas Strip.
Las Vegas police responded to a call of an active shooter near the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino just after 10 p.m. local time. Country music star Jason Aldean was performing at the end of the three-day Route 91 Harvest Festival when the gunman opened fire across the street from inside the hotel.
Watch below: A weekend shooting in Las Vegas is the deadliest in modern U.S. history and an Alberta woman is confirmed among the dead. With more on how Albertans in Las Vegas were impacted by the shooting, here’s Sarah Kraus.
A Calgary resident, originally from Ottawa, was among those injured in the attack. A colleague of Steve Arruda said the hockey referee was there with his wife Elaine when he was hit with a bullet in his upper leg.
“They went to the show, all hell breaks loose, then they scramble to get to a retaining wall,” Hockey North America Calgary’s James Kelly told Global News. “He helps his wife over the fence; he was helping others get over fence. He got hit by a bullet.”
Kelly said he’d been texting with Arruda Monday while he was in the intensive care unit (ICU). He said Arruda didn’t expect to be in hospital long.
“He’s just a super nice guy—just your typical regular guy. It’s still a little surreal for me right now.”
A man from Devon, Alta. was also at the Aldean concert when the shooting started. Ryan Balanecki said he heard shots being fired and the group he was with hit the ground.
“Once we figured out where it was coming from — because you could see a white strobing light coming out of Mandalay Bay… being on the ground wasn’t going to solve anything because it was coming from above,” he said.
“Once there was a break in the fire, our group got up and tried our best to stay all together to get out of the grounds and at least get away.”
Balanecki said one of his friends, a 40-year-old man from Leduc, is among those injured. He’s currently waiting for an update on his condition.
“We heard kind of a pop, pop, pop… it sounded like fireworks coming from our right. We looked up but there was nothing there,” Balanecki said. “As soon as the music stopped, then all you heard was just constant, obvious gunfire shooting down into the concert bowl.
He said they were “surrounded by people that were shot or injured. A couple of our friends did see people get shot and killed.”
The hotel he was inside was put on lockdown. Balanecki says he hasn’t processed everything yet.
Edmonton resident Alyssa Deans was at the concert when the shooting happened. She described hearing “bangs” before realizing they were gunshots.
“Then all of a sudden it was shot after shot after shot. It was on repeat constantly and that’s when everybody decided to hit the ground,” Deans said.
Deans saw people being shot, including two girls who were next to her. She huddled with a group of about 10 people before trying to run for safety.
“He had a little bit of a break, so we thought he was reloading, so we stood up and started to run. He started to shoot again. We got shelter underneath some tables and then we just decided to go for it and run to the closest possible hotel,” Deans said.
Deans and a friend managed to safely reach a hotel.
“In that moment, you don’t think about absolutely anything except for: how do we get out and how do we get to the safest place?” Deans said.
Watch below: Sheriff Joseph Lombardo with Las Vegas Metropolitan Police says as of 11:30 a.m. (EST) Monday, 58 people are confirmed dead and 515 injured following a shooting at a concert in Las Vegas.
Julie Corbett is another Edmonton native who was at the concert. Corbett said she and a friend left the music festival before the shooting happened, but they heard the gunshots from their hotel room at the Luxor.
Corbett said the hotel was put on lockdown immediately after the shooting, but she could see the Las Vegas strip from her room.
“It’s creepy… all you see flashing is cop lights and ambulances. There’s no lights on. It’s creepy.”
Authorities have identified Stephen Craig Paddock as the gunman. He was found dead in his Mandalay Bay hotel room after the shooting. Police believe Paddock committed suicide as officers closed in.
The attack is the deadliest mass shooting ever in the United States. In 2016, a gunman who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State militant group killed 49 people at an Orlando nightclub in June 2016.
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With files from Adam Frisk and Erika Tucker