Speed Reads

Las Vegas shooting

Las Vegas concertgoers describe a 'heartbreaking' and 'unreal' scene of chaos and heroism

When the sound of pops rang out Sunday night during the last concert of the last day of the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival, concertgoers thought they would see fireworks.

"We were watching the concert having a great time," one witness told the Las Vegas Sun, "then we hear what sounded like firecrackers."

"But then you realized that's not what it is because people are crouched and they're screaming," another witness told the Las Vegas Sun. "We just wanted to stay together so we held hands and ran together. Then every time we would hear shooting we would duck and keep running."

From the 32nd floor of the nearby Mandalay Bay hotel, suspected gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire on the crowd of thousands. At least 50 people were killed and 400 injured in what is one of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

As the shooting rang out, concertgoers dropped to the ground. People hid behind fences and under seats, bleachers, and cars. One woman reportedly took cover in a sewer.

"It just kept coming," one witness told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

"My sister, being as noble as she is, threw herself on top of me and said, 'I love you Taylor,'" concertgoer Taylor Benge told CNN.

"I looked over to my right where this girl had been standing right beside me," attendee Gail Davis told CBS This Morning. "First, she stood there and she grabbed her stomach and she looked at her hands and her hands were bloody, and she just kind of screams, and she just fell back."

Davis and her husband urged the girl to run and the three were corralled into a tented area by a police officer. "The officer actually covered up to protect me from being shot because I couldn't get out all the way," she said. The scene, Davis said, was "heartbreaking" and "unreal."

Amid the chaos and the sea of bodies, people were seen holding the injured, covering their wounds, and piling people into cars headed to the hospital.

"I saw police officers, while everyone else was crouching, police officers standing up as targets, just trying to direct people to tell them where to go," one witness told Today. "The amount of bravery I saw, words can't describe what it was like."