Sunday 22 October 2017

'Sitting targets' - Las Vegas shooting survivor describes horror attack

Two survivors of the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history have described how concert-goers tried to shield themselves from the line of fire.

A night time view of the scene of a mass shooting, bottom right, on the Las Vegas Strip, Monday, Oct. 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
A night time view of the scene of a mass shooting, bottom right, on the Las Vegas Strip, Monday, Oct. 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Two survivors of the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history have described how concert-goers tried to shield themselves from the line of fire.

Stephen Paddock, 64, was named by American police as the gunman who massacred at least 59 people and injured 527 others after opening fire on a music festival on the Las Vegas Strip from his room on the 32nd floor of a hotel on Sunday.

Caren Mansholt said some people initially thought the sounds of the first rounds of ammunition were fireworks.

She told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "People were running and screaming and trying to get out of there. I literally just went down right in front of my seat and I was trying to crouch as low as possible and just stay out of any line of fire."

Rusty Dees said he thought the biggest problem for many was that he did not see anyone returning fire.

He said: "What many people did in the open environment they were in, the floor seating if you will, was they all took shelter by just kneeling down.

"What they didn't know was that for someone 32 storeys above that they were just sitting targets, so it was really like a tragic effort, everyone trying to do the right thing but this crazy person obviously thought all this stuff through."

He added: "Everyone was helping everyone, there were people hurt and if they fell down because they were injured people were picking them up ... it was the best and the worst of people, it really was."

Asked if something needed to happen on gun ownership laws, Ms Mansholt said: "I do believe there is a time and a place for gun ownership and I believe that we have the right to protect ourselves as needed and it's so unfortunate that there are people out there, in this instance this man made a makeshift illegal weapon and used it in the worst way possible, and I think that is extremely hard to prevent."

Mr Dees added: "If you can find a gun law that could prevent this from happening I could sign up today, but I am proud of our country's Second Amendment rights and I'm glad we're allowed to defend ourselves."

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