NPR for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Concert-Goer Describes Deadly Scene After Mass Shooting In Las Vegas


Gunshots were ringing off the stage rigging and road cases. No one knew where to go. That's how one musician described the terror last night as shots were fired into the audience of an outdoor country music festival in Las Vegas. A different performer, singer Jason Aldean, was on the stage when the gunfire began. At least 58 people are dead, and more than 500 were injured.


The lone shooter was on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort. That's a hotel and casino across the street from where the concert was. Police say he broke open a window to fire hundreds of rounds into the crowd of thousands of people below. He was identified as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock. He killed himself before police got into his hotel room.

SIEGEL: Mark Lacy was in the VIP section of the concert venue last night, and he joins us now by phone. Mr. Lacy, can you describe the moment when you knew something was wrong?

MARK LACY: Well, it started out - initially people were kind of confused. It sounded like there were firecrackers going off to the right of us. Then the second volley of rounds went off, and you could see the people on the ground floor in front of us starting to move back. And then it created an empty space, and you could see people, you know, lying down and then people on top of them. And then the third volley went off. This went for a long period of time. And then Jason Aldean left the stage. And then people just started to panic and just started running out.

At that time, I told my wife and friend to get down, take cover. And I went to the back of the VIP to kind of try to help find where the shots were coming from 'cause the police were running towards that direction. And then another volley came off. And then I ran back down and told my wife and friend that they needed to get going 'cause we were in the line of fire from where the rounds were coming at.

And so they got up and ran up to the top of the stairs of the VIP and then went back down and started trying to get the - assess who needed help and who may have been injured. And the guy that was sitting next to me, was standing next to me was shot in the head. And...

SIEGEL: He was right to you at that moment.

LACY: To the right of me, yes. And so we got his wife and girlfriend and that separated from him so we could get him to a safe area. So we got him up into the lounge area of the VIP, and they started performing life-saving techniques on the individual, eventually got him out to the staging area where we were staging the wounded and deceased.

SIEGEL: Do you know if he survived the gunshot?

LACY: I believe. I can't confirm. But when they were doing life-saving techniques, he was not breathing.

SIEGEL: Not breathing - I understand you were in the military for a long time.

LACY: Yes, Sir.

SIEGEL: First, had you experienced anything like this, and did you sense your training kicking in at all during the - during this?

LACY: I've never experienced anything at this magnitude. I've seen a lot in 20 years in Saudi Arabia, Honduras, Panama, Turkey but nothing like this where you're supposed to be out having a good time and you don't expect something like this to happen. My training kicked in immediately, and I bolted and looked towards the - where the shots were being fired from. And then I started trying to assess the wounded and trying to get people out of the area so we could take care of those that needed help and get those others that could move out of the area so they were not - no longer in harm's way.

SIEGEL: Were you actually carrying people out of the area?

LACY: So we - my wife and I helped carry out a individual that had a leg arterial wound with - and had a tourniquet on - got him out, got several other individuals out. We used the gates that were surrounding the VIP area. We disconnected them and laid the individuals on those and carried them out to the staging area.

And what was kind of upsetting to me - and I understand why they do it - is that the first responders did not come into the area. Fire department, ambulance and that were all staged at a safe location because the area was not declared safe. And so everybody that was evacuated - the wounded, the deceased, et cetera - were all done by concert goers.

SIEGEL: You had to bring them to the first responders, help them and bring them to the...

LACY: A lot of the individuals died because there was no area for it. Once we got them to the staging area, there was no ambulances there. And so we were putting them in back of pickup trucks and cars and that. They were being taken to the hospital in private vehicles. We stayed there until 12:30, and they moved the cordon away from where - the staging area. And there was two deceased left in that area.

But we were pretty good at getting all the individuals injured or deceased out to that area. I mean we used tables. We used beverage carts. We used fencing. You name it. Whatever we could use to - use as a stretcher to carry these people out, we did it.

SIEGEL: You know, with hindsight, we know that the shooting had stopped after a while. Did you - were you confident of that, or as you remained, were you concerned that gunfire could erupt again at some moment?

LACY: Of course, but that's not what I was trained to do. My - I was trained to help, and I was trained that we don't leave anyone behind. And if I'm OK to help, then I'm going to help until there is no one that needs help.

SIEGEL: Have you been able to connect up with any of the people whom you carried out last night and speak to them?

LACY: No, no I haven't. I mean they are at the hospitals. And when we left at 12:30, 12:45 last night, we came back to the hotel and - watching the news ever since.

SIEGEL: I bet there are several people who are very grateful to you. How are you dealing with this right now? You went through a pretty horrible night last night.

LACY: You know, if you want to describe what war is, I guess this is what looks like war but on a civilian scale. These people didn't deserve it. And I'm just glad that there were true Americans that stayed behind and helped those that were wounded and helped the individuals that were deceased.

SIEGEL: Well, Mr. Lacy, thanks very much for talking with us and describing what you saw and did last night in Las Vegas.

LACY: I appreciate it. Thank you, Sir. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.