LAS VEGAS (AP) — The rapid-fire popping sounded like firecrackers at first, and many in the crowd of 22,000 country music fans didn’t understand what was happening when the band stopped playing and singer Jason Aldean hustled off stage.
“That’s gunshots,” a man could be heard saying emphatically on a cellphone video in the nearly half-minute of silence and confusion that followed. A woman pleaded with others: “Get down! Get down! Stay down!”
Then the pop-pop-pop noise resumed. And pure terror set in.
“People start screaming and yelling and we start running,” said Andrew Akiyoshi, who provided the cellphone video to The Associated Press. “You could feel the panic. You could feel like the bullets were flying above us. Everybody’s ducking down, running low to the ground.”
While some concertgoers hit the ground Sunday night, others pushed for the crowded exits, shoving through narrow gates and climbing over fences as 40- to 50-round bursts of fire rained down on them from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay casino hotel.
By Monday afternoon, 59 victims were dead and 527 injured in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
Mike McGarry, a financial planner from Philly, went to Vegas this past weekend as a country music fan, but he left a hero.
His brave actions singled out by White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders
“Mike McGarry from Philadelphia laid on top of students at the concert to protect them from the gunfire,” said Sanders during her Monday White House press briefing.
“I’m 53, they’re in their 20s. I lived a decent life so far, I’d rather them live longer than me,” McGarry told CBS3 on Monday night in Philadelphia. “I just dove on top of 14 people, pulled a chair or table over them and said, ‘I’m a lot older than you guys,’ so tried to lighten up the moment a little bit.”
McGarry says he wasn’t aware he was praised nationally.
“Absolutely not. I’ve been on a flight all day. I didn’t sleep,” he said.”
He believes he wife, still visibly shaken from the events of the past 24 hours, is the person who deserves the most credit.
“I would say my wife is more the hero. She’s an RN and put a tourniquet on someone with a bullet,” recounts McGarry. “Literally I think anybody would have done the same thing. We’re just people trying to help other people. I don’t think I did anything spectacular.”