Anthony Potts attended the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas where a gunman opened fire with automatic weapons killing dozens and injuring hundreds.
They were 15 feet from the stage when it started.
Michael Crocker, of Kingman, and his friend from Phoenix first thought they were hearing fireworks. Maybe a joke.
“We heard a bang, bang, bang and we heard another bang,” said Crocker, a County Attorney Prosecutor from Kingman, Ariz.
Crocker, 31, was in front of the stage near Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino with Phoenix resident Emilie Husselt, 25. Within seconds, they were underneath that stage.
A least 58 people were killed and 515 more were wounded in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
What Crocker and nearly 22,000 people in the crowd heard was a barrage of bullets as a man opened fire from a hotel room above the packed, outdoor concert in Las Vegas at about 10 p.m. local time.
“The shooter hit several people that were 20 feet behind us,” recalls Crocker. “At that point, we realized that people were saying it was a shooter.”
The two planned to drive back to Kingman right after country music singer Jason Aldean finished his Route 91 Harvest festival performance.
“It had been a great night,” he said. “It had been fantastic. It was a great atmosphere with great people.”
Aldean, who was on stage when the hail of gunfire began, continued to play through the first, extended volley, video from the scene shows. The crowd appeared confused, unsure what the sound was.
Crocker jumped to action.
“I was going to the ground to get on top of (Emilie) when I saw Jason Aldean run off,” Crocker said. “Everyone around us knew that it was real.”
The two stayed on the ground until there was a break in gunfire.
“The shots just continued and continued and continued,” Crocker recalled. “I wish I could tell you how long it had been. In a situation like that, there is no way to tell how long the shots had been going on. At moments, it felt like seconds and in other moments it felt like hours.”
President Donald Trump touted the progress being made on restoring Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria and said he will travel there Tuesday. He also said he will visit Las Vegas on Wednesday and called the massacre a “very, very sad moment.” (Oct. 2)
Crocker and Husselt hid behind a barricade that separates people from the stage, before retreating underneath the actual stage Aldean graced moments before.
“Everyone near us realized getting under the stage was the best thing,” he said. “We had no idea the shots were coming from the rooftop. We thought it was an active shooter in the area.”
Videos on social media show people ducking for cover and fleeing amid the unrelenting bombardment.
“We saw one guy who had been hit being dragged by his friends,” Crocker said. “Me and Emily both took our shirts off and gave them to another victim under the stage to apply pressure to stop the bleeding.”
Moments of tragedy brought out many displays of heroism.
“There were so many people that jumped to action,” Crocker said. “A former marine was giving us directions to get from underneath the stage and run to the backstage area.”
That’s where a presence of uniformed police officers could be felt.
“There was just chaos everywhere,” Crocker said. “Emily and myself were running through the streets of Las Vegas with no shirts on.”
Crocker and Husselt escaped the nightmare unharmed.
“Everyone was trying to provide whatever help they could,” Crocker said. “I went to help one of the victims who was shot in the leg.”
Concertgoers and victims turned to makeshift shelters inside of nearby casinos, including Hooters Casino Hotel, where Crocker and Husselt spent the rest of the night.
“The casino was absolutely amazing. They tried to make the best out of a bad situation,” he said.
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