INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Two Hoosiers visiting Las Vegas last weekend for a country music concert survived the shooting massacre by as little as 15 feet.
Travis Reed and Anna Travnicek are from Mexico, Indiana, and say they’ve come to the Route 91 Harvest Festival for years. Until Sunday night, all had been going well. Reed said they were about 15 feet from the stage where Jason Aldean was playing Sunday night.
“The song prior to where all the chaos broke out, we heard four firecrackers,” Reed said.
He said the video monitor cut out, and he heard more firecrackers but wasn’t aware of what was happening.
“Once the music cut, that was when we were able to see something that was going on, not just fireworks or audio video issues,” he said, “and then you could visually see the blood and people had been shot.”
Panic ensued. Reed said he and Travnicek dropped to the ground assuming the shooter was on foot.
“Around us people had been shot within 15 feet from behind us,” he said. “And then natural instinct, we all ducked on the ground.”
When the bullets didn’t stop, they ran for it, hiding under pavilions, running alongside sport-utility vehicles, ducking down alleys and taking cover.
“It was pure adrenaline for us because I was shaking, it was like, yes, I was scared, but it was a pure adrenaline, running for your life,” he said. “[Anna] was shaking, crying, wanted to talk to her daughter,”
Reed said they were partially sheltered by their proximity to the stage and unintentionally came out into the shooter’s range when they ran.
“The shots were ricocheting off the asphalt around us. We hid for a while until the bullets ricocheted right in front of us in our cover, so we decided to take off running outside of the exits,” Reed said.
While hiding, the two met several other victims.
“We heard a woman weeping, saying her husband had been shot or killed. We were just trying to grasp it all. It was just a nightmare come true,” Reed said.
During their escape, Reed recorded a Facebook Live video. You see his shadow on the street and the camera turns to his face as he walks.
“There’s been a shooting at Route 91. This is not a joke,” he said to the camera. “There’s been a shooting. Me and Anna are OK.”
Reed and Travnicek made it back to their Monte Carlo Resort and Casino hotel room safely without any physical injury. By Monday afternoon, Reed said they hadn’t left that same hotel room.
“Physically we’re good, but there’s a little bit of mental imaging that’s tough to get rid of … seeing that people had been shot around you,” he said, noting the two were ordering room service so as to avoid leaving the room.
When told the Islamic State had claimed responsibility for the attack, Reed said the concert was very patriotic.
“The American pride was strong this whole festival. So many American flags, so many U.S. chants. It’s crazy that it happened on a weekend like this,” he said. “It was just country music. That was it.”
Other Hoosiers in Las Vegas also escaped unharmed.
Mike David, the Indiana Golf executive director from Whiteland, said he was already in his room at The Mirage hotel when the shooting began. He is staying there there with 250 other Hoosiers preparing for a golf tournament that began Monday.
“All 250 of our players are safe and accounted for,” David said. “Certainly a tragedy, but we feel good that our group is OK.”
David said he and most of the other players were watching from their hotel rooms. After making several calls Monday morning, they decided to continue to play their tournament Monday and Tuesday, as they’ve done on a past tragedy.
“On 9/11 we had a tournament a couple days after that, and we made the same decision back then,” David said.
He said the players had provided positive feedback to their decision.
“Watching the news reports all night and being able to look out my window and look down the street and know those are the police cars that are going there. It’s really tough to take in all at once.”
Darren Gourley from Fishers was also in Las Vegas, for an information technology conference with several coworkers and clients.
“It was very fortunate that I was safe and sound in my room. Never even imagined somebody could do this,” Gourley said.
Gourley was in touch with several of his coworkers, who had varying experiences that night.
“I know a couple of individuals had to sleep on the floor of the Excalibur, which was about two or three hotels away,” he said. “They didn’t allow anyone in or out. Everyone was on total lockdown in their rooms.”