Thousands flee what 'sounded like a thousand shots'

Concert-goers at the Las Vegas festival venue. The bursts of gunfire sent people running for their lives and sparked confusion. Far left: People carrying an injured person to safety after gunfire broke out at the Route 91 Harvest country music festiv
People carrying an injured person to safety after gunfire broke out at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival in Las Vegas on Sunday. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Concert-goers at the Las Vegas festival venue. The bursts of gunfire sent people running for their lives and sparked confusion. Far left: People carrying an injured person to safety after gunfire broke out at the Route 91 Harvest country music festiv
Police officers standing guard on the streets outside the concert grounds. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Concert-goers at the Las Vegas festival venue. The bursts of gunfire sent people running for their lives and sparked confusion. Far left: People carrying an injured person to safety after gunfire broke out at the Route 91 Harvest country music festiv
People tending to the wounded. At least 58 people were killed and over 400 injured in the shooting.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Concert-goers at the Las Vegas festival venue. The bursts of gunfire sent people running for their lives and sparked confusion. Far left: People carrying an injured person to safety after gunfire broke out at the Route 91 Harvest country music festiv
Concert-goers at the Las Vegas festival venue. The bursts of gunfire sent people running for their lives and sparked confusion. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Panic breaks out as bullets rain down on 22,000-strong crowd at Las Vegas concert

LAS VEGAS • It was just past 10pm, during the last act on the last night of the three-day country music festival on Sunday.

About 22,000 were in the crowd watching best-selling country singer Jason Aldean on stage when bullets rained down on them.

The Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, where gunman Stephen Paddock unleashed round after round of bullets from the 32nd floor, overlooks the site where the country music concert was held.

"It sounded like something was wrong with the speakers," said Mr William Walker.

"Jason Aldean kept playing through three rounds of it. Then once he stopped, everyone took it more seriously," The Guardian newspaper quoted him as saying.

"I started kicking down fences to take shelter behind the buildings."

TERRIFYING MOMENTS

Everybody thought it was fireworks. There was a pause. About 30 seconds later, we hear just mass amounts of full auto gunfire. Everybody hit the deck. The band onstage bolted off the stage and that is when I hit the ground. I grabbed my girlfriend and we hit the ground.

CONCERT-GOER BRETT HERPICH, talking to NBC4 Los Angeles.

DEATH ALL AROUND

People kept dropping and dropping… People were getting shot one foot away from us... People were trying to save their friends.

MS MEGHAN KEARNEY, who was at the festival.

TOTAL PANIC

The band ran off stage and it was pandemonium... Everyone was running, people were getting trampled.

CONCERT-GOER JON BESSETTE

TRUMP'S RESPONSE

My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!

US PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, writing on Twitter.

The huge crowd scattered, trying to take cover.

"Two girls hid behind a car with us, right outside the concert," said Ms Desiree Price, according to the The Guardian.

"We huddled together. That is why I have their blood on me. One girl was shot in her leg, the other had it in her shoulder. It didn't stop, so we all ran - we kept going."

Ms Michelle Leonard, a vendor, was in a booth near the main entrance of the concert taking place across the street from the hotel, ABC News reported.

"It sounded like a thousand shots," she told ABC News in a tearful phone interview, adding that the shooting just "kept going non-stop".

She said mass confusion unfolded as people tried to flee the venue, and that her friend stepped over several dead people as they tried to flee the "scary" scene.

"I turned around and I looked, and people just started running," she told ABC News.

"People were just running and falling and screaming," she said, adding that it seemed as if the shooting lasted for more than a minute.

"I had no idea of where it was coming from or where to run to."

Ms Leonard was among the throngs of people who were on the Las Vegas Strip as the gunfire erupted, killing at least 58 people and injuring over 400 others.

The bursts of what one witness described as "non-stop gunfire" sent people running for their lives and sparked confusion.

Like many others in the crowd, Mr Vincent Sager said he mistook the shots for fireworks.

He quickly realised they were gunshots when he saw "someone run by me in blood", he said in an Instagram post.

Social media videos showed people scrambling to flee the scene as shots rang out.

Some were seen crouching on the ground, stumbling over one another, as others attempted to run.

Another eyewitness said that the concert venue felt like a "kill box" because it was so hard for people to get out.

As bursts of gunfire crackled in the air, people outside the casino ducked and screamed.

"We are going to get trampled if we don't go," a bystander could be heard saying in a dramatic video of the incident.

Another eyewitness, Mr Jake Freeman, said he was standing on the rooftop of a nearby hotel when the shooting broke out.

"I had a bird's-eye view of the shooting," Mr Freeman said in a phone interview with ABC News. He said that he saw "crowds of people running" as people "dropped to the ground".

The streets between the concert grounds and the nearest medical centre were filled with a non-stop convoy of ambulances and police.

"I want to find my friends," said Ms Price, as quoted by The Guardian .

"I want to go to my hotel room. I want to go home."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 03, 2017, with the headline 'Thousands flee what 'sounded like a thousand shots''. Print Edition | Subscribe