It’s been deemed the deadliest mass shooting in American history, killing 59 people at the time of writing, with over 500 injured. Tragic stories from those who experienced the horrors of the Las Vegas shooting are now beginning to emerge, including that of a hen’s party for Californian bride-to-be Meghann Odum.
Odum and her sister, Katelyne, best friend, Eliza Martinez and future sister-in-law Jamie Vazquez were having the time of their lives just seven rows back from the stage at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival when bullets began to ricochet above their heads.
“It was just a typical Vegas bachelorette party,” Vazquez, 33, has told marie claire US. “I thought someone was being a jerk and popping firecrackers, because the music kept playing,” she recalls of her initial reaction to the gunfire. “But then all of a sudden the lights flickered and someone started yelling, ‘get down! Get down! It’s a shooter!’”
“There was mass chaos – we were lying flat on the ground listening to the pops of the gun, wondering if we were going to die.”
At risk of being crushed by the crowd, the women then ran for their lives. “We couldn’t tell which direction the shots were coming from,” Vazquez says. Mother to a two-year-old boy, she says she couldn’t stop thinking of her husband and son. “I kept saying to myself, ‘you can’t die, you can’t die, you need to be there for your son’.”
The driver of a red van in a nearby carpark let them seek shelter with him, as well as another woman who soon after knocked on the van door. Tragically, she had gun wounds to the head.
“We laid her across the seat and took off her clothes to use them to stop the blood that was pouring from her head,” Vazquez told marie claire US. “She was gasping for air and choking on her own blood.”
The driver of the vehicle took them all to nearby medics. “They got her out ad the officials started screaming at us, ‘you have to get out of here!” Vazquez says.
The man responsible for the shooting, identified by police as Stephen Paddock, is reported to have killed himself in the Mandalay Bay hotel room he was firing from.
People unable to make contact with loved ones in Las Vegas should phone the DFAT emergency hotline: 1300 555 135 or +61 2 6261 3305.