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November 28, 2021

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‘It was just mass, mass blood everywhere’: Survivors recount Las Vegas attack

Mass Shooting at Las Vegas Music Festival

AP Photo/John Locher

Sheri Sletten sits on a curb at the scene of a shooting outside of a music festival along the Las Vegas Strip, Monday, Oct. 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. Multiple victims were being transported to hospitals after a shooting late Sunday at a music festival on the Las Vegas Strip.

Mass Shooting on Las Vegas Strip

An investigator works in the room at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino where a gunman opened fire from on a music festival Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017, in Las Vegas. The gunman killed dozens and injuring hundreds at the festival. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) Launch slideshow »

As survivors filtered away from the site of Sunday evening’s mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, they described a scene of horror and heroism — people crumpling to the ground after being shot, running in terror, some stopping to shield others or provide aid to the wounded.

Here are some of their accounts:

Sheri Wolf was sitting in the area designated for the disabled with her daughter-in-law and three children, one of whom uses a wheelchair, when the gunfire began.

The family, from Huntington Beach, Calif., ran to a perimeter fence near the airport, with her son carrying her daughter. People had bottlenecked there, but managed to push a section of the fence over. Wolf said the festival goers ran into a hangar at the airport, where there were easily 100 people.

The family eventually wound up at the Thomas & Mack Center, where survivors were sheltered.

Chase Maddux said he was near the stage when shooting started. The crowd initially thought the gunshots were fireworks, and only realized something was not right when the stage went dark and event staff pulled Aldean off the stage.

“We just dropped and ran,” Maddux said. “That's all we could do."

Maddux said someone in a truck used the vehicle to rip down a perimeter fence of the festival so crowd members could get further away. Family picked up Maddux and friends at Thomas & Mack.

Festival worker Heather Kerr was busy behind stage when she heard the shooting.

"People were literally grabbing strangers and getting them to run," she said.

She hid in a trailer with others and turned off the lights.

“I’m not sure how long I was in there,” she said, adding that she was in shock. She said she saw people using belts as tourniquets.

Kerr said bomb- or drug-sniffing dogs had been brought to the scene, which prompted complaints from some attendees. But she said she was grateful for the dogs, saying maybe they kept this the tragedy from being worse.

“We were all dancing, we were having a good time, and all of a sudden I heard all of these shots," said Candace LaRosa, also of Huntington Beach. Like other festival goers, LaRosa said she first thought the sounds were coming from a fireworks show. But LaRosa, who escaped to an area near the Tropicana resort, said the scope of the violence quickly became clear.

“It was just mass, mass blood everywhere,” she said.

“All I heard was a lot of bang, bang, bang, and everybody hit the ground and everybody started running,” said Patrick Martin, from Southern California.

He, his wife and son were watching the concert. “You’re talking (tens of thousands of) people, everybody is running.”

He said his son had stayed behind and helped people evacuate the festival grounds.

“We were in the middle of the crowd closest to the stage... we heard a couple of pops, then it stopped. Then all of a sudden it started going again and people started dropping,” Corinne Lomas said. “Every time the crowd got up the shooting started again. I was laying on my brother shielding him. I’m 30, he’s 21. I love him to death; he has more life to live.”