LAS VEGAS - A couple from Pendleton was front and center for the chaos that unfolded in Las Vegas on Sunday
“We were just, one minute having a great time listening to Jason Aldean. And then in the distance, we heard ‘pop, pop, pop, pop.'”
Elaine Anderson describes the events that she witnessed that day as “surreal.” She and her husband Kevin had flown to Vegas for the weekend to attend a country music festival that would soon be the scene of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
Neither of them realized what was actually happening when the machine gunfire had started. Elaine thought it sounded like fireworks. Kevin thought the audience was reacting to an event that took place outside the music festival.
They were about 30 feet from the stage on the opposite side from where the shooting had started. Once the crowd became panicked, both ran for their own safety.
“It was hard to tell between folks who had actually been shot and folks who had been trampled or pushed over,” said Kevin Anderson.
Kevin has been working for the emergency transportation company American Medical Response since 1998, serving as a medic for most of those years. When bodies began to drop, he didn’t hesitate to risk his life.
The first victim he helped was a 24-year-old off-duty police officer named Michael, who had just been shot in the head. His 22-year-old girlfriend Summer jumped on top of him to protect his wounded body. She was hit in the back. The couple had a little baby girl three months ago.
As Kevin tended to the head wound, Elaine stayed with his girlfriend and comforted her.
In the next few minutes, the couple got split up. Kevin ran in and out of the concert venues looking for victims who’d been shot. While his memory is a blur, Kevin estimated that he made about eight to 10 trips, transporting dozens of injured people to safety.
He joined a group of other off-duty servicemen and regular citizens in performing CPR, searching through tents and hiding areas where victims might have crawled, and tipping over trash cans to roll victims to the street.
He described being surprised by the number of pickup trucks and private cars just waiting to pick up victims so they could be taken to the hospital.
“Ultimately, when I left three or four hours later, I had heard news reports that only two people passed away. And I was thinking to myself, ‘boy that’s not even close.’”
Kevin and Elaine attribute their safety on that day to their faith.
“I believe that God protected us and I’m praying every day for the families and the people to get through this” Elaine said, adding, “I think people need to remember how lucky they are to have their family and loved ones and that they didn’t go through this.”