Nfld. & Labrador

Newfoundlanders spent hours in lockdown following Vegas attack

People from Rocky Harbour, N.L., spent hours in lockdown in Las Vegas overnight after a shooting that killed 58 people at last count.

Barb Sparkes of Rocky Harbour tended to people who were in shock following mass shooting at music fesitval

Jen Shears and her daughter Aspen take a picture at a hockey game hours before a mass shooting in Las Vegas. Shears, her husband, Kerry, and Aspen had just walked to Top Golf when the facility went in to lockdown from the attacks. The family says they are safe but shaken after the incident. (Submitted by Jen Shears)

People from Rocky Harbour, N.L., spent hours in lockdown in Las Vegas overnight after a tragic shooting that killed 58 people.

The attack, now called the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, happened at a country music festival near the Mandalay Bay resort, less than two kilometres from Top Golf, an entertainment venue where Jen Shears was with her husband and four-year-old daughter at the time.

The first signs that there had been violence came when sirens, nothing unusual to hear in Las Vegas, kept intensifying. When Top Golf staff finally began emergency protocols, Shears said they knew something unusual had happened.

"A bunch of Top Golf workers came and kind of ushered everyone into the back corner," she told the St. John's Morning Show hours after the ordeal.

"They said we had to get out of the open area because there was an active shooter and they were talking about fully automatic weapons and AK-47s and stuff."

Las Vegas police stand guard along the streets outside the festival grounds of the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas, Nevada following a mass shooting Sunday night. (David Becker/Getty Images)

Shears said the facility went into lockdown, and nobody was allowed to leave for several hours. She says some concertgoers, including injured people, sought shelter at Top Golf. 

"One of the ladies with us is actually a nurse and she treated a couple of people for shock," she said. "They were hyperventilating, stuff like that."

That nurse, Barbara Sparkes of Rocky Harbour, said the experience was nerve-racking.

Horror on people's faces

"To see the horror on people's faces … saying they just ran, ran, ran. They don't know how they got here. They had to climb fences … they were very upset. One lady, her jeans were tore all the way down. She ripped it on the fence trying to get here. So it was almost too real."

Shears said sirens are a common sound in Las Vegas, but this was anything but normal.

"They just kept going, kept going," she said. "The looks on the faces of all the people who really worked there, really reconfirmed that this is something different, something unique about this incident."

She and her husband tried to distract their daughter with her iPad, but Aspen could tell something was wrong.

"She said, 'I'm not coming back here anymore. There are too many emergencies.'"

Barb Sparkes, left, and Jen Shears were at an entertainment complex in Las Vegas where people took shelter during a mass shooting that killed nearly 60 people. (CBC)

Shears said after a few hours they were allowed to return to their hotel room at the MGM Grand, and they're forever thankful they weren't able to go to the music festival like they wanted to. 

"We tried to get tickets, but it was sold out," she said.

With files from St. John's Morning Show