METHUEN (CBS) — A country music festival thousands were looking forward to for months ended in confusion and panic.
Bryanna Giorgio traveled to Las Vegas from Methuen to attend the festival with friend, Mandi Thornton. During the act she was looking forward to most, Jason Aldean, she heard what sounded like fireworks.
“I knew it wasn’t firecrackers it just didn’t sound right so we got to the ground and we looked up and the whole screen when pixilated because the screen was hit and we heard bullets ricochet off the stage and I just looked at my friend Mandy and was like we need to get out of here,” Giorgio said.
Some, even looking up at the sky to check but by then it was clear to another festivalgoer, Tyler Alamo, this wasn’t part of the show.
“The fire stopped for a quick second, and that’s when I started running.. running for my life,” Alamo explained.
The sound was gunfire coming from the 32nd floor of the nearby Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino and descending onto the concert crowd. Authorities identified the gunman as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock of Mesquite, Nevada. At least 59 people were killed and more than 500 were wounded.
Alamo wasn’t alone as thousands tried to get out any way they could.
“We literally got out of there as quick as possible. We didn’t even go through an exit I’m pretty sure we went through a bush or something in the back. People were hopping the fences, climbing the fences for their lives,” Mandi Thornton said.
“I got to this six foot high wall that people were trying to get over it but it was just so high,” Alamo described.
Alamo helped as many as he could get over the wall, before he too ran for safety. Bullets, still flying over his head.
“I don’t know, by the grace of God I didn’t get hit. I don’t know how,” he said.
Now, so many are just trying to cope with what they’ve seen.
“I just feel like we haven’t really gotten any sleep or anything. I didn’t get any sleep at all. It doesn’t feel like it was real life still,” Thornton said.
“I saw some things I never thought I’d ever see in my entire life. Women children men, old young… um it’s hard,” Alamo added.