LAS VEGAS - For a city that never sleeps, Las Vegas is living a nightmare.
“I was having a conversation no further than I am from you and bullets were hitting the ground between me and the guy I was talking to,” said J.R. Schumann, an executive with Sirius XM Radio.
He was backstage when the shooting began at the annual Route 91 Harvest Festival Sunday night between McCarran International Airport and the Mandalay Bay Hotel.
“And I started telling people to get between the buses. There were tour buses down there. We were yelling get between the buses,” Schumann explained.
He later learned his location backstage was between the shooter and the stage as one magazine after another emptied from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel just across Las Vegas Boulevard.
Some of the 22,000 concert goers described the walls around the venue as 10-feet tall or higher making it difficult to escape. One person described the venue as a kill-box.
“I saw a guy pull a white pickup up and they were loading bodies and injured people into the back of this pickup and he was driving away people were running and trying to jump on the pickup to be carried out of harm’s way,” Schumann continued.
He arrived on Thursday and is staying on the 20th floor of the Mandalay Bay – about 12 stories below where the shots originated.
Schumann said he could not return to his room until Monday afternoon as investigators had the building on lockdown.
“We walked back in the hotel room and all the lights were on, closet doors open, the bathroom – you could tell [SWAT] had gone through and cleared the room,” said Schumann.
“I’ve been out here since 12 noon today and I’ve hugged 196 people,” said Melissa Moats, a local resident.
She parked her convertible Volkswagen next to the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” landmark sign – about a half mile south of where the shooting happened – and hugged people who were willing to stop and talk.
“I wish I could have given blood today. I recently had a bout with cancer so I wasn’t able to give blood so I thought what can I do,” asked Moats, 40.
It is a question everyone is asking after the deadliest mass shooting in American history.
None of Schumann’s 20 employees who were at the concert got injured, he said. But many fled without purses, wallets, backpacks and briefcases.
Schumann said he spent Monday afternoon helping employees board flights home without any identification.
The Clark County Coroner said all the deceased concert goers have been removed from the venue but police are still going through the scene as they continue their investigation.
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