New Stories Of Heroism From Las Vegas

Oct 3, 2017

People are slowly starting to get back to the Las Vegas Strip, after Sunday night's mass shooting. And stories are beginning to trickle out about how residents and visitors helped save lives during the massacre.

Reno Public Radio's Noah Glick chatted on the phone with Carrie Kaufman, a producer and host for KNPR's daily talk show State of Nevada to get the latest from Las Vegas.

What’s the mood in Las Vegas right now? What are you hearing from folks? Are people getting out and getting back into the casinos? What’s going on right now?

The strip is open. It is not quite as busy as it usually is, definitely the area where the concert was is still closed and is still roped off. That room, I think that floor is still closed in Mandalay Bay. But Mandalay Bay is open, the strip is open and people seem to be going about their tourist business.

I guess I want to ask you about some of the community response you’ve seen. What stories are you hearing of people who were there to help or people who may have just been driving by during this horrible event?

We had somebody on last night, who’s also going to be on our show tomorrow, who was leaving one hotel and driving by and heard the gunshots. She just kind of pulled people into her car—she has a van—and then drove them to safety. And then she went back in to that zone, and saw a woman with her husband who was on the ground who had been shot in the chest. And she ended up pulling him into her car, into the backseat.

Her original intent was to take him to an ambulance, but at that point ambulances weren’t in abundance there. So she ended up following an ambulance to Sunrise Hospital, where she took him in to the emergency room. She didn’t know his name. She didn’t know really anything about them, except that they were from L.A.

So when she went and parked her car, she came back in and asked, ‘Where are the people from L.A. that I just dropped off?’ and she got hooked up with his wife, and gave her phone number. He is now in stable condition.

There’s another story, and we’re going to have this on our show, a couple—he is an ex-Marine. They stole a truck that we think belongs to the county and just loaded injured people into the truck and brought 20-30 people to the hospital.

With Vegas being such a tourist town, are you hearing a lot of victims are Las Vegans, or are you seeing this instant really impacting folks from all over the country?

It impacts folks from all over the country, and that’s why a few hotels here have said, ‘We will give free rooms to family members who are coming to Vegas to deal with their family members who are injured, or family members who were killed.’

It also, though, there are 2 million people here, and a lot of people like going to these festivals. And there were a lot of people that I know tangentially—and everybody in our office knows somebody who knows somebody who was there. So for us, we’re focusing on is who are the local victims and how they fit into the fabric of this community.

President Trump is coming back to town. What’s the community expecting from that visit?

I don’t think they’re expecting much at all. Nobody has talked to us about Trump. We’ve been focusing on telling the stories of the people who survived, who helped other people survive. We’re starting to talk to first responders and trauma nurses who were pretty shell-shocked and couldn’t really process what they had just been through.

So we’re going to focus on that in the coming days, and we’re going to focus on misinformation in the coming days, because there’s been a lot of misinformation out there.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

The only thing I want to add is I grew up in Las Vegas. And this can be a tough town sometimes. The one thing I’ve always found about Las Vegas is that when tough things happen, people come together.

Not too long ago, I was driving down the freeway and a family had parked on the side of the road, and a little girl was having a medical emergency. And before I could even think about pulling over, six cars already had. And that to me is Las Vegas.

So I wasn’t really surprised at the outpouring of ‘What can we do?’ the outpouring of community that happened yesterday, and that makes me really proud.