'We were just running for our lives': Canadian couple escape Las Vegas mass shooting
Just after 10 p.m. local Las Vegas time, concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest music festival ran for their lives after hearing a barrage of gunshots in the crowd. More than 200 people were wounded and over 50 people killed.
A gunman perched high on the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas strip hotel unleashed a volley of machine gun fire in what authorities now say is the largest mass shooting in the U.S.
The shooting took place in an outdoor area known as Las Vegas Village, across the strip from the Mandalay Bay and the Luxor hotels. Authorities have identified the person believed to be the gunman in Sunday night's shooting as Stephen Paddock, 64.
Vancouver's Quinn Mell-Cobb and his girlfriend Madison Milford were at the concert and managed to escape the shooting with no physical injuries.
Mell-Cobb tells The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti they were both about 365 metres away from the main stage, watching country singer Jason Aldean, the last act of the night, when the crowd heard "loud pops in quick succession."
"We were all kind of startled, taken aback a little bit but we were all like, okay, it's just like fireworks or firecrackers," he says, so they ignored it.
But five seconds later, it happened again and Mell-Cobb says he then saw Aldean run behind the stage with the rest of the band.
"At that point, I saw everybody that was down near the main ... floor section running back towards us and ... I heard the gentleman behind us say 'those are gunshots,'" says Mell-Cobb.
"Pretty much everybody around us, kind of, hit the deck and just tried to get away."
Mell-Cobb says he froze and just stood there — "I don't know if I just didn't grasp what was going on."
And then he saw his girlfriend who was in the seat next to him "go down fairly quickly."
"At that point, it was while the shots were ringing out ... I immediately thought that she might have been hit," he tells Tremonti.
"That was honestly, you know, the most terrifying thing I've ever personally been through."
Mell-Cobb shielded Milford to protect her, asking if she was okay. She said she was.
"I told her, 'we got to get out of here, we can't just sit here. This guy is going to pick us off, whoever is doing this."
They ran and joined the stampede of people running towards Tropicana down Las Vegas Boulevard, Mell-Cobb says — all the while still hearing the pops as they approached the street.
"Some people I saw were taking shelter, you know, jumping into toilets or behind cars ... but we just kept running. Our hotel was pretty nearby us and we were trying to get there which we were able to do."
Mell-Cobb says at the time it was hard to even register what was happening — "You don't think it is ever going to happen to you."
"You're kind of just, you know, in the moment trying to survive," he says.
"We were just running for our lives."
Listen to the interview near the top of this web post.
This segment was produced by The Current's Karin Marley.