BOSTON (CBS) – It’s a picture capturing a moment in time when Danielle Riley and nine friends and relatives were enjoying the Las Vegas country music festival. A woman they had met at the concert offered to take their photo at just the moment the bullets started flying.
“We could see her all of a sudden pull away from the camera. At the same time we’re hearing pop, pop, pop,” Riley tells WBZ-TV. “There was mass confusion. I could hear the guns were coming from behind us as we were running. You just don’t know.”
The problem was they didn’t know where the bullets were coming from or how many shooters there might be. “All we can think is there’s somebody inside shooting at all these people,” she said. “We didn’t know if they would come our way.”
As thousands fled the area the friends became separated, some hiding in a parking garage until making it back to their hotel and reuniting. It’s the same chaos Bryanna Giorgio experienced as her instinct also kicked in to get out. “We ran through parking lots, crouched down behind cars trying to get into a building and hunker down there,” said Giorgio.
Today she’s still trying to understand what happened and how she survived. “I thank my stars every day,” she said. “Now I’ll never take anything for granted because you never know what can happen.” She’ll return to work as a Methuen police dispatcher ironically ready to be on the receiving end of 911 calls.
Danielle Riley says she struggles to watch news coverage with the sound of the bullets still echoing, and how ten friends managed to make it out alive. “A thankfulness for whatever reason we were safe,” Riley said. “All safe out of ten people, the odds could have been much different.”
WBZ-TV’s Ken MacLeod reports
A Mansfield woman’s niece who was injured in the attack was one of the survivors who met with President Trump at a Las Vegas hospital on Wednesday.
“He came into the room and she couldn’t believe it,” Amy Kellicker said. “I think that really brought up her spirit to meet the president.”
She’s talking about her niece, Denae Gibbs, who is on the mend after surgery to remove a bullet lodged in her abdomen as she hid under a food truck.
“From the picture it looked like she was smiling and I think that was probably the first time she was smiling in a while,” Kellicker said.
Apparently President Trump invited some shooting victims to the White House, but Denae’s aunt doesn’t think she was among them. The 23-year-old might be well enough to leave the hospital by the weekend.