Nineteen flights with people leaving Las Vegas landed in Houston Monday. Some passengers witnessed the shooting. One shared her emotional story.
Among those reflecting on their journey from Las Vegas to Houston at Hobby Airport baggage claim carousel 3, Guadalupe Ortega cried and trembled.
“I can’t even begin to process what just happened," she said.
The 24-year-old who lives and works in Denver flew home to Houston to hug her dad after her weekend trip with four friends to the Route 91 concert spiraled into terror.
“We heard what we thought were fireworks, and so we all looked up, and I just I don’t know," Ortega said. "I just remember seeing people running. I got into an Uber. Nobody wanted to let us into their cars. And finally this man did and it was me with six other strangers. She had blood all over her shirt. The two girls were pregnant. They were crying. We were all leaning there. We finally just ducked down. And (the driver) took us out there and some stranger just paid for our hotel room so that we would be safe for the night. But we all just literally like slept in the closet."
Two blocks away, Carl Randle hid in his hotel room, too.
“I was scared because I didn’t know where it was coming from," Randle said. "But you could see on TV it was coming from the Mandalay Bay.”
Chronica and Marcus Colbert were headed to the strip until told by employees at their hotel seven blocks away to stay in their room.
“We immediately started thinking about our 4-year-old son, our family just contacting everyone letting them know we were okay," Chronica Colbert said.
They received 60 voicemails and Facebook messages from friends wanting to know if they were OK. Like Ortega, the Colberts are home wishing what happened in Vegas did not.
Amanda Sifford arrived at Bush Aiport around 2:30 p.m. Monday. She'd been awake for more than 24 hours.
She and two other friends were in Las Vegas for that country concert. She says Jason Aldean was five or six songs in. When the first shots rang out, she thought it was fireworks, until the second round started. She says it felt like it didn't stop. Somehow she made it to safety and frantically called her boyfriend, not knowing if there was another shooter in the area.
"We just had to run. We knew we had to get somewhere not out in the middle of this big open area," Sifford said.
Her boyfriend got a call in Houston as she ran for safety.
"It was her out of breath, running, crying," Brandon Gorman said."All I remember is her saying someone's shooting in the crowd. I knew where she was at the time. It was rough."
Albert Sayegh and his wife Ann Marie were entertaining about 50 clients inside the hotel. They didn't even know a concert was happening and they didn't hear gunshots, but hotel security announced there was an active shooter situation nearby. That's when the chaos unfolding outside spilled into the hotel. The couple was visibly upset as they shared what they experienced Sunday night.
"Suddenly security says everyone out now and they herded us into the casino floor area where hundreds of people were running for their lives," Albert Sayegh said.
"I've never experienced anything like it. We go to Vegas all the time, and to know that could happen to any one of us anytime, I just want to see my kids, they've been calling," Ann Marie Sayegh said. "I'm so happy to be home, but feel for all those people back there."