Kelowna woman witnesses Las Vegas mass shooting

The Kelowna resident heard the loud crackling sound of gunfire and the screams of panicked men and women

At first, Tami Johnson noticed the police cars and ambulances blocking access to the Las Vegas hotel where she’d been staying.

Then, when she got out of her Uber and started walking, the Kelowna resident started to hear the loud cracking of gunfire and the screams of panicked men and women, stampeding away from danger.

Related: B.C. man one of two Canadians killed in Las Vegas shooting

“The shots went on for five minutes … we just ran for safety and ended up hiding out in a ditch behind a gas station,” said Johnson, who hunkered down for four hours alongside her 13 year old daughter.

“Police kept telling us to get down and stay down … and there were people yelling and screaming. You couldn’t be anywhere near the strip and not see it.”

When gunfire ended, the chaos continued.

The parking lot of the Hooters hotel where she is staying is just a stone’s throw from where the country music concert, Route 91 Harvest took place. It was roped off for the investigation and Johnson and its other guests weren’t allowed into the hotel until 7 a.m. Monday. Once it opened its doors, it was far from being a homecoming.

Related: 58 killed in mass shooting in Las Vegas

“There are a lot of people who were killed that were staying in our hotel,” she said.

Victim’s services has set up in the hotel to offer support to those who are stuffering with the emotional fallout of the violence.

Those who witnessed unthinkable violence are making use of the service while others, who have who were simply displaced from the Mandalay hotel are finding refuge in the hotel’s public amenities.

“As soon as the hotels opened people flooded the casinos, cozied up under a slot machine and waited for the OK to go back to their hotels,” she said. “People camped out in the casino, sleeping on BlackJack tables and stuff.”

Related: Revelstoke women escape mass shooting

The atmosphere is heavy and getting their bearings is a struggle, though Johnson said she knows she’s lucky to have survived when so many didn’t. The lone shooter killed at least 58 people and injured more than 500.

“We’re in shock right now,” said Johnson.

“A lady we hung out with at the pool was one of the victims. She was killed. We spent four hours with her last night, and I even bought her a jello shot, and we talked about politics, Trump and guns …an hour ago I went downstairs and the group she was with said she had passed away.”

Pray for Vegas.

Posted by Tami Johnson on Sunday, October 1, 2017

Johnson said that the counsellor at her daughter’s school has already reached out to help in the days ahead. Otherwise, they’re still in the middle of the unfolding tragedy, and getting perspective will likely be impossible until they’re safe at home.

Just Posted

Parents grieving teen’s overdose death say it started with opioid prescription

Elliot Eurchuk, 16, died at his Oak Bay home Friday, after taking street drugs

Indigenous leader shares traditional knowledge of B.C. plants for Earth Day

Guided walks through Beacon Hill Park provide insight to historical uses of Camas, Indian Plum, snow berries

Dix says B.C. remains focused on fighting youth overdoses in wake of teen’s death

Elliot Eurchuk’s parents say he died at his Oak Bay home after taking street drugs

Rockin’ steady with Phonosonics

Victoria roots reggae band looks to attract wider audience with appearance on Rise Up TV show

Central Saanich, Tsawout taking part in reconciliation ceremony

Blanket event Monday to help foster mutual trust and respect

Spring Home Show this weekend in Colwood

West Shore Parks and Recreation will be transformed to showcase everything home related

LOCAL FLAVOUR: Taking the sting out of nourishing nettles

Linda Geggie For the Saanich News When you think of nettles you… Continue reading

Final week for ALR input

Public consultation process closes April 30

‘When everybody leaves: Counselling key to help Humboldt move on after bus crash

Dealing with life after a tragedy can be the worst part following a loss

Central Saanich, Tsawout taking part in reconciliation ceremony

Blanket event Monday to help foster mutual trust and respect

Ballet Victoria soirée fundraiser a prelude to final show of season

Company winds up its 15th season in the city with Peter Pan next month

Half-naked shooter guns down four, runs away in Nashville Waffle House shooting

Nashville police say they are looking for Travis Reinking in connection with the shooting

Child’s body found in river downstream from where boy went missing during flood

Three-year-old Kaden Young was swept out of his mother’s arms in February

Most Read