'Not the Vegas I know': Nevada woman helps Newfoundlanders after mass shooting

An American woman who helped a group of Torbay area tourists after the mass shooting in Las Vegas says she just did what she felt was right.

Rhonda Burnside Mitchell invited the Torbay area men into her Vegas home after shooting

Rhonda Burnside Mitchell, who lives on the edges of Las Vegas, felt compelled to help the men from Newfoundland, in the hope they would remember something positive about their trip. (CBC)

An American woman who helped a group of men from Newfoundland in the aftermath of the mass shooting in Las Vegas says she just did what she felt was right.

Rhonda Burnside Mitchell, who lives on the outskirts of Las Vegas, saw Chris Crawley of Flatrock and Jeff Morey, Andrew Bragg and Chris Hearn of Torbay at the airport watching coverage of the shooting on TV.

The men had just been at the music festival where 58 people were killed and another 500 injured, and Mitchell said she could tell they were shaken up and just felt compelled to start talking to them.

"I don't know why I was drawn to these particular kids. There were a lot more, but they made the statement that they had been there and escaped from that," she told CBC's Here and Now.

"My heart just ached that they had been through that ordeal and I just started talking with them and getting to know more about them."

From left, Chris Hearn, Andrew Bragg and Jeff Morey of Torbay, N.L., were among the crowd targeted by gunman Stephen Paddock. They returned home to Newfoundland on Tuesday afternoon. (Cal Tobin/CBC)

Mitchell took the guys under her wing, letting them stay at her house, driving them to their Airbnb to get their luggage and even taking them sightseeing at the Hoover Dam and other landmarks the next day.

'There is evil in this world, but there's not just evil, there's good.- Rhonda Burnside Mitchell

Through it all, she could tell they were still processing the traumatic experience they had just been through

"The boys said when they first saw people going down around them they assumed it was people diving for cover," she said. "And as they processed it through their heads several times they now realize those might have been people who were shot and died."

Young men were reunited with their families at St. John's International Airport Tuesday, after surviving the deadliest shooting in U.S. history Sunday night. 1:51

Mitchell said while their experience running from bullets will stay with them forever, she just wanted to help them try and salvage something positive out of their trip to Nevada.

"That's not the Vegas I know. It was a tragedy and the biggest thing I can say is there is evil in this world, but there's not just evil, there's good. There's a lot of good," she said.

"It was truly a joy to have these boys in our home. And I have a love in my heart for them and for their families and I'm so sorry they had to go through this."


 

With files from Debbie Cooper and Here and Now