A young woman has recounted how a marine she’d only met hours before saved her life on the night of the Las Vegas mass shooting.
At 10:30pm on Sunday October 1, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock from Mesquite, Nevada, fired gunshots unrelentingly into the Route 91 Harvest festival crowds, as they watched Jason Aldean perform on stage, killing 59 innocent people and injuring more than 500.
Two hours before the horrific events Renee Cesario met Brendan Kelly, a Marine who would save her life during the massacre, the deadliest in American history sadly surpassing the Orlando shootings of June 2016 in which 49 people were killed.
Renee recounted the incredible encounter, beginning:
Brendan and I met only two hours before the Jason Aldean show. I left my friends so we could go up super close to the front for the end of the night.
We were just dancing and having fun and then all of the sudden there were loud noises that sounded like fireworks, but no lights were going off.
It stopped, and Jason Aldean kept playing but then the shots fired again and he ran off the stage.
Renee continued to recall the horror and Brendan’s bravery:
Before I knew what was going on, Brendan tackled me down to the ground and covered me from the fire. It stopped again and he looked around to see what was happening and then it just kept going.
He looked at me and said: ‘We have to get out of here. We can’t stay here. It’s not safe.’
Then he pulled my arm up to get me out of the piles of people. We had no idea who was dead or who was alive. We just started to run.
He kept telling me it was going to be okay and to keep running until we were safe. He even let me use his phone to stay in touch with my sister so she knew I was safe, which is the text you’ll see.
The whole night he didn’t leave my side.
Also at the concert was professional poker player Dan Bilzerian, who shared horrifying footage of the attack to Snapchat and proclaimed he was going to take on the shooter with his own guns.
Officers on the scene said Paddock had fatally shot himself before armed responders were able to reach his hotel room.
In the aftermath, as the police investigation continues, an outpouring of emotion has overcome America, as they collectively mourn once again.
Jimmy Kimmel perfectly summed up the reaction in a powerful televised speech:
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Our thoughts are with all those affected by this devastating and senseless act of violence.
Families looking to locate missing loved ones should call 1-866-535-5654.
If you would like to donate blood for the injured victims of the Strip shooting visit the Labor Health & Welfare Clinic, 7135 W. Sahara.
A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you’ve never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.