By Natalie Johnson / email@example.com
For Adna residents Kim and Wayne Chase, the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas was supposed to be the last hurrah of summer.
“We actually splurged and did a VIP package,” Kim Chase said. “Ironically, the VIP seating probably saved our lives.”
However, a few songs into country star Jason Aldean’s set, the couple was taking cover under their VIP seats as a lone shooter, identified as Stephen Paddock, used multiple weapons to fire hundreds of rounds of ammunition into the outdoor concert’s crowd from his room at the Mandalay Bay Resort, killing at least 59 people and injuring more than 500.
“The bullets actually rained over us,” she said. “We didn’t run because we actually had a place where we could hunker under these metal chairs.”
They couldn’t see much of the chaos as concertgoers in the general admission section ran for their lives, but they heard it, Chase said.
“The noise was horrific,” she said.
Just before the shooting started, the couple took a selfie with the Mandalay Bay Resort in the background.
“The first sounds we heard, the first gunfire, sounded like fireworks,” She said. “It was a pop, pop, pop sound. We all looked up because you could hear it was coming from the Mandalay.”
While the first shots were evenly spaced, Chase said the next round sounded more like automatic weapons. Paddock is suspected of using semiautomatic rifles modified to fire quickly like an automatic weapon.
“There’s no protection, there’s nothing you can do to protect yourself from automatic gunfire,” she said.
But then the stage lights went dark and the crowd started running for cover. At that point, no one knew whether there was one shooter or many, or where the shots were coming from. Wayne Chase looked up after one barrage of bullets and saw bodies and seriously injured people, Kim Chase said.
“It was chaos,” she said. “It’s running in my head so much I can’t wait for it to stop. I was praying, I felt like I was probably going to get hit.”
Eventually the shooting stopped and the couple made their way back to their hotel, where they were put under lockdown. By the next morning they were able to head to the airport and fly back home.
While the shooting was chaotic, Chase said the first responders and security personnel were “unbelievably calm and cool,” and immediately led fleeing concert-goers to safety.