Moments after Military Honor at Vegas Concert, Heroes Sprang into Action Saving Lives
“They say it lasted for eleven minutes, but it felt like so much more.” Debbi Tamietti is from California, and she went to Las Vegas last weekend with a group of friends – seven girlfriends and one young man — to celebrate two of their birthdays. They stayed at the Luxor, a hotel with a walkway to Mandalay Bay, and they were having a great weekend. Until the night of the concert.
Debbi and her friends migrated close to the stage, and they were singing and dancing amidst a crowd of probably thirty people deep from the center stage. All of a sudden, there was the sound we’ve all heard now on all of the news coverage: pop-pop-pop-pop-pop! She said they looked at each other and asked, “Why is someone throwing firecrackers?” Nobody really thought it was gunshots. They kept listening to the music, and then ten seconds later, there were more shots. That’s when people started dropping to the ground around her. Someone screamed, “This is real! Get down! Get down! Get down!”
She crouched down a bit, but she didn’t lie down yet. She couldn’t imagine what was going on. That’s when a young man, a big guy in his mid-thirties, whispered to her, “Ma’am, you have to get down. Get all the way down.”
Stricken with fear, she whispered back, “What’s going on?” He lay down over her, covering her with his body. He said, “I’ve got you covered. You’re safe.”
Debbi looked to the right and saw a dead body. She looked to the left, and there was a man whose hand was nearly blown off. That’s when she realized, this is real. We’re in trouble. The shooting seemed to go on forever. “That sound is what I can’t wait to get out of my head,” she said.
There were a lot of military officers, firemen, and policemen in the audience. The opening band, Big and Rich, had just honored them moments before in the concert, asking the officers to stand, and leading the audience in a sing-along of "God Bless America." Moments later, these same men took over, guiding thousands of people through what was truly a war scene. Debbi said in all of the chaos, she kept hearing their voices and their instructions, always crisp, clear, and repeated three times. They are trained for battle, and they brought order to the chaos.
But then the shooting stopped. A group of men shouted, “Get up! Get up! Run! Run! Run!” Debbi was with eight friends, and they all scattered. They got to a nearby fence, and people were pushing and pushing, shouting, “Get over the fence!” A young man standing nearby helped people over the fence, one at a time. As she ran, she found one of her friends. Her friend grabbed her and said, “Please don’t leave me.” Right then, the shooting happened again.