MOSCOW (Sputnik), Tommy Yang — Laura Morales from Fillmore, California came to Las Vegas with a group of friends for a fun weekend to enjoy a three-day country music festival known as "Route 91 Harvest" headed by popular musicians including Jason Aldean, Eric Church and Sam Hunt.
"Initially all the gun shots sounded like fireworks, or [we] thought it may be the light rigging malfunctioning. So there was no immediate scare," Morales told Sputnik.
When people around her started to drop to the ground, Morales started to run as fast as she could and take cover on the way. "Horrific night. Worse than any nightmare," she said.
Las Vegas Police Department Sheriff Joe Lombardo said in a press briefing on Monday that the shooting at a music festival outside the Mandalay Bay Resort hotel in the city killed at least 50 people and injured more than 400, making it the deadliest mass shooting in US history. The police said the suspected gunman, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, has been killed by law enforcement officials, after firing into the crowd from a room on the 32th floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort hotel.
Morales, the eyewitness at the music festival, said she had to duck and take cover when she heard rapid gunshots and started running as fast as she could when the gunshots stopped probably because the gunman had to reload his weapon.
"We could jump over people as we ran. I saw a guy shot in the arm making his way to the first aid tent. We pushed our way out of a fence and ran for our lives," Morales said, adding that she thought the shooter was in the concert at the time.
"People were bumping into each other and some were being trampled because they still were staying down when others were running out. All you heard, in addition to the shots was people screaming and crying and yelling 'run'," she added.
"As we were running out, police with huge guns were going in. When we got into the stranger's car with all the other random people there were two young girls in there really upset and hysterical. We also saw multiple vehicles with people hanging out everywhere," she said.
Morales said her main purpose of the weekend trip was to attend the music festival for the first time. Her friends and her stood in the front during the first two days and moved toward the back on the night when the shooting took place. She saw the majority of the victims were standing in the front.
"I believe he [the gunman] was randomly shooting into the crowd. At the time we thought the shooter was inside the venue and that's why we ran," she said.
Morales, 37 is a stay-at-home mom with two sons aged 8 and 4. When the shooting happened, "all I could think about was that I couldn't die because I have my two sons at home," she said.
After arriving at the Thomas and Mack Center, Morales and her husband walked back to their hotel, the Monte Carlo, which is still under lock-down, to hide, because there were different reports about more shooters possible being present. The couple drove out of Las Vegas toward their home in California when the lock-down was lifted.
After such a horrific experience in Las Vegas, Morales said she felt lucky that her sons were not with them. Her sons had asked to come to Las Vegas to experience the fun kid activities, but she said she will never bring them after what happened.