Las Vegas shooting: Witnesses describe shooting ‘war zone’, ‘blood and bodies’

People hug and cry outside the Thomas & Mack Centre after a mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival.

People hug and cry outside the Thomas & Mack Centre after a mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival. Photo: Getty

Witnesses to the deadliest mass shooting in US modern history have described the horror as the attack unfolded, likening the scene to a “war zone”.

At least 58 people were killed and more than 500 injured after a lone gunman opened fire on an outdoor musical festival crowd in Las Vegas from a nearby high-rise building.

Australian Alex Cann said he was in the bathroom at a casino in the nearby MGM Grand hotel when he heard there had been a shooting.

“We were at the back of the hotel close to the strip, so we were close to where it happened … and people were just running through the hotel crying. We didn’t know what was going on,” he said.

“It just got a bit chaotic, we got a bit scared so we went straight back to our room, we weren’t sure if the actual gunman was in our hotel.

“There was an old guy in the lift and he popped his knee out because he’d been running.

“When we walked down towards the strip, there were girls sitting on the ground crying, there was security everywhere and there were people yelling.”

‘It was a horror show’

Concertgoer Ivetta Saldana, who was there with a friend, told local media the shots sounded like fireworks as she hid in a sewer.

“It was a horror show,” she told the Las Vegas Review Journal.

“People were standing around, then they hit the floor.”

Another festival attendee, Tenaja Floyd of Boise, Idaho, said her mother Jennifer, threw her to the ground and lay on top of her to protect her.

She said she was worried they might be trampled as people started running out of the venue, so they decided to join the rush to leave.

Like ‘shooting fish in a barrel’

Concertgoer Christine said after the first round of shots, singer Jason Aldean ran off the stage. People began “screaming, and falling and running”, she told the ABC.

“Everyone was literally laying on top of each other trying to get out of the way,” she said.

People run for cover at the country music festival after gun fire was heard. Photo: Getty

“The shots just kept coming.”

In the aftermath, Christine and her husband ran to their car and found people hiding underneath it for cover.

“There was a gentleman who was shot and he was asking me for help,” she said.

Jake Owen, a country singer who was on stage with Mr Aldean when the shooting began, told CNN on Monday that from where he was the attack was like “shooting fish in a barrel”.

“This is not an exaggeration. This shooting was going on for at least 10 minutes,” he said.

“It was nonstop.”

Country singer Tyler Reeve was backstage at the time of the shooting. He and other singers took cover in a trailer, with the lights turned off, while bullets struck tour buses, equipment cases and the stage.

“I grabbed my buddy that was next to me and started running toward a production trailer,” Reeve told the Associated Press.

“As we were lying in this trailer, I was thinking, ‘This can’t really be happening’, and it just went on and on.

“I can’t even describe the feeling, just absolute terror.”

After about 45 minutes, Reeve and his friends ran through the streets to the MGM Grand Casino.

“It was just shoes and clothing and blood and bodies.”

‘The night was endless’

Las Vegas paramedic Dean Weber was among the first responders and had to make “agonising” decisions about which patients to transport to hospital first.

Las Vegas shooting

Blood stains and a discarded shoe lie in the street in the shooting aftermath. Photo: EPA

Mr Weber said when he arrived at the scene, the injured had been tagged with colour-coded stickers – green for minor injuries, yellow for non-life threatening and red for in need of immediate transport to hospital.

Those tagged in black were dying or expecting to die.

“It was like a war zone … pure hell … We had to take the red-tagged patients first,” Mr Weber told People magazine.

“People were begging me to take them because they were in so much pain. One woman grabbed at my ankle and we locked eyes. All she could say was ‘please.’

“But she was tagged in yellow, and there were people in red.”

– with wires

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