The Las Vegas shooting massacre on Oct. 1 left 58 people dead and over 500 left injured, according to ABC News, making it the deadliest single day shooting in American history. BYU-Hawaii students with ties to Vegas are shocked after the shooting but amazed by the bravery exemplified by first respondents.
Tyler Pisciotta, a junior biomedicine major from Las Vegas, said, “I had cousins and friends that were at the event. My cousin only had minor injuries and a sprained ankle. Her husband was hit with shrapnel in both legs and had a busted up hand from breaking glass for people to get out. All of my friends made it out safely and hid out in hotel rooms until the Strip was taken off of lockdown.”
The night of the shooting, Pisciotta stayed awake waiting for replies and watching lives news updates, he said. “It was a restless night. Lately I’ve been hearing a lot about these things happening in Europe or other states, but when it's actually happens to your hometown, friends, and family, it hits a different place in your heart.”
According to ABC, the tragedy could have been much worse had police not intervened when they did. There were multiple unused, high-capacity ammunition magazines found in 64-year-old gunman Stephen Paddock’s hotel room. Between the hotel room and Paddock’s two houses, 47 guns were found.
Ephrem Smith, a sophomore studying business from Ethiopia whose adopted family lives in Nevada, said, “If something like this occurred in Africa, it would be even worse. This is because there would be no control. The gunman would just keep going and there would be no one to stop him. I am so impressed with the first responders and those that helped in Vegas. Those brave people saved so many lives by acting so quickly.”
CNN reported that several normal citizens, doctors, cops, paramedics and nurses who had just gotten off duty came together to help those in need. Even concert goers held victim’s wounds closed until more help could arrive.
NBC News reported that first responders risked their own lives to save others. Some wearing Kevlar helmets to protect themselves as they used random items like blankets to make tourniquets for victims.
Five hospitals were overwhelmed with victims that night, but the hospitals did all they could to provide help to as many as possible, according to NBC. Since the tragedy, civilians have been donating blood to save the lives of victims.
Pisciotta said of those who helped, “My deepest respect goes out to the Sheriff, first respondents, and all of the off duty responders who reacted with such speed and efficiency when the city needed it most.”
Lexie Hansen, a freshman studying graphic design from Las Vegas, said, “The best way BYUH students can help is [through] prayers that the affected families will be comforted.”
According to CNN, the attack occurred around 10 p.m. during Jason Aldean’s performance at the Route 91 Harvest festival, an outdoor country music event. Paddock was perched on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort, right above where the concert was held and the shooting lasted between 10-15 minutes.
CNN reported that Paddock did exchange gunfire with police in the hotel. As officials breached the hotel room, Paddock was found dead. He is believed to have committed suicide.
According to the Associated Press, authorities are still unsure about the motives of the shooter.