Bart Robbins knew the pop-pop-popping wasn’t fireworks when he watched Jason Aldean’s band run for cover.
And when he watched a woman just a few feet away collapse with a bullet wound to her head.
“It was just chaos everywhere,” Robbins said. “I can’t even describe it.”
The 36-year-old Lincoln man and his wife, Lindsay, were spending Monday afternoon at the MGM Grand, watching the news and waiting for their flight home. From their room, they could see the broken, 32nd-floor window at the Mandalay Bay, from which a gunman had sprayed the concert with rifle fire.
Robbins’ voice was hoarse, just above a whisper. He’d had little sleep. He wasn’t sure how he was handling what had happened.
“I can’t get the images of the bodies out of my head, people’s families. I don’t know how I am. I don’t think I’ve quite processed it yet.”
The couple arrived in Las Vegas on Friday, with his brother and three friends. They attended the Route 91 Harvest Festival concerts Friday and Saturday, and were about 10 rows back from the stage when the shooting started Sunday.
They hit the ground and sought cover beneath tables and under the stage. He tried to stay on top of his wife, to protect her from the bullets.
“It was pop-pop-pop. It was full-on automatic. He was just spraying us. We were like ducks on a pond.”
The gunfire seemed to last for half an hour. They didn’t know where the shooter was, or if there was more than one. At some point, the shots seemed to get louder, as if the shooter was inside the concert grounds.
From beneath the stage, they were evacuated to safety between tour buses and semitrucks.
“We saw people laying on the ground, it looked like they were passed out but they were dead bodies. There were people giving CPR everywhere and there was blood everywhere.”
They ran to the Tropicana and took a walkway to the MGM. They were at the hotel bar, trying to make sense of what was happening, when a rumor spread through the room: The shooter was on the loose at the MGM.
They took cover again. “People at the bar ducked down and took off,” he said.
Robbins and his group found an employee elevator, which they took up to their room. And then they took in strangers from hotels that were locked down: three people from San Diego, and a mother and daughter from Michigan. They had 11 people in their room, he said.
At some point, Robbins looked down.
“And my feet were covered in blood.”
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A family from Adams is thankful to be alive after a weekend getaway to Las Vegas turned to horror as a gunman opened fire on a country music festival.
Jason Aldean was the last performer to take the stage at the Route 91 Harvest Festival on Sunday when shots rang out.
In the crowd of more than 22,000, approximately 50 yards from the outdoor stage, Travis Buhr, his wife Kelly and twin 14-year-old daughters were among the confused spectators not sure if the initial “bangs” from behind them were part of the show. Then Aldean fled the stage as more shots followed.
“A machine gun just went off and 20-25 rounds shot over us into the pits,” Travis Buhr said in an interview on Monday morning. “That’s when everybody just scrambled. I grabbed my wife and kids and took off running.”
The family was staying at the MGM Grand, roughly a mile north of the Mandalay Bay, where authorities said 64-year-old Stephen Paddock opened fire on the concert crowd from a room on the 32nd floor.
The family fled to the north on foot to the Tropicana, a resort hotel between the concert area and the MGM Grand.
There, they hid behind large rocks in the pool area until it was safe to move on.
“We were running toward our hotel, and you just couldn’t get through,” Buhr said. “They were locking doors on hotels and everything just stopped. About halfway to our hotel we took probably seven or eight people and climbed behind rocks. By then the traffic was pretty much stopped. Taxis weren’t taking anybody. They told us to get to our rooms.”
Buhr said other people climbed trees, hid in cargo containers, anywhere possible to find cover.
The Buhr family was up all night and had planned to fly back to Nebraska Monday, but was debating renting a car and driving instead.
“I don’t know what we’re going to do,” Travis Buhr said. “We just want to get out of here.”
Buhr said nobody in their immediate area was hit by gunfire.
“We didn’t see anybody injured and I’m glad we didn’t,” Travis Buhr said. “When we were cutting through the vendor area there was a blood trail. I don’t know if someone got cut while running or what. People were knocking each other over, jumping fences. It was complete chaos.”