Tuesday 17 September 2019

Veteran killed in Las Vegas massacre posted on Facebook about ‘nightmare’ of being shot at in battle

In a Facebook post from July, Christopher Roybal told people his response to the question “what’s it like to be shot?”.

Las Vegas Shooting
Las Vegas Shooting

By Nicola Irwin

A veteran who was killed in the Las Vegas shooting had previously posted on Facebook about the “nightmare” of being shot at in battle.

Christopher Roybal, 28, had completed four tours in the Middle East including time in Afghanistan where a friend had been killed by an improvised explosive device.

In a post now widely shared, and which is dated from July, Roybal said: “What’s it like to be shot at? It’s a nightmare.”

The October 1 shooting in Nevada left 59 people dead and more than 500 injured after a gunman fired into festival crowds.

The Mandalay Bay resort and casino, right, overlooks an outdoor festival grounds across the street (John Locher/AP)

The man, identified by police as Stephen Paddock, shot indiscriminately at the crowd enjoying the Route 51 Harvest Festival from a room inside the Mandalay Bay hotel across the street.

In the Facebook post, Roybal gave examples of his time in conflict, with dog Bella at his side.

"What's it like being shot at?"A question people ask because it's something that less that 1% of our American…

Posted by Christopher Roybal on Tuesday, July 18, 2017

He said he would never speak with a “sense of pride and ego” of what happened but give people asking about being shot “an answer filled with truth and genuine fear/anger”.

The two, he said, go hand in hand.

“My first fight was something I never will forget,” he wrote, explaining it came after a four-hour foot patrol.

“Hearing the most distinct sounds of a whip cracking and pinging of metal off of the vehicle I just had my hand resting on is something that most see in movies.

“I remember that first day, not sure how to feel. It was never fear, to be honest, mass confusion.

Police on the scene during the shooting at the Route 51 Harvest Festival (Chase Stevens/AP)

“Sensory overload… followed by the most amount of natural adrenaline that could never be duplicated through a needle.

“I was excited, angry and manic. Ready to take on what became normal everyday life in the months to follow.

“Unfortunately, as the fights continue and as they as (sic) increase in numbers and violence, that excitement fades and the anger is all that’s left.

“The anger stays, long after your friends have died, the lives you’ve taken are buried and your boots are placed neatly in a box in some storage unit, still covered in the dirt you’ve refused to wash off for fear of forgetting the most raw emotions you as a human being will ever feel again.

“What’s it like to be shot at? It’s a nightmare no amount of drugs, no amount of therapy and no amount of drunk talks with your war veteran buddies will ever be able to escape.”

His Facebook page has been turned into a memorialised account called “Remembering Christopher Roybal”. It means it is now managed by a friend or family member.

Roybal, originally from California, worked at Crunch Fitness, a company founded by David Harman.

Paying tribute to the veteran, Harman said: “He is a guy that could always put a smile on your face … after all the stuff he had been through.

“He was the guy who if your car broke down in the middle of the night, you could call him and he would come help you.

“He is that guy who would find solutions, not report on problems.”

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