A panoramic view at the concert from where Dwayne MacNeill was sitting with his wife Michelle, and friends Gordon Davis and Chrstine Desautels. The garbage can is to the right and the entry way to the bleachers with the Mandalay Bay Resort in the background. (Contributed photo)

Prince Rupert residents survive Vegas mass shooting

Former auxiliary RCMP officer recalls experience at concert when gunfire erupted in Las Vegas.

  • Oct. 3, 2017 9:20 a.m.

The four friends sat on the bleachers, listening to the music when they heard the pop-pop-pop of gun shots.

This was the first time Prince Rupert residents Dwayne MacNeill and his wife Michelle travelled to Vegas, with friends Gordon Davis and Christine Desautels.

“We decided the night of the shooting to sit up in the bleachers in the far end of the field. In previous nights we had been further down. I don’t know why we stayed in the bleachers this time, but we did,” MacNeill said.

On Sunday night, Oct. 1, they were at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. Country singer Jason Aldean was on stage when 64-year-old Stephen Paddock opened fired on the crowd from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino along the Las Vegas strip.

READ MORE: More than 50 killed, 500 injured in mass shooting

“I’ve heard gun fire in the past. This was like fire crackers,” MacNeill said.

He saw people fleeing close to the stage, and bodies laying on the ground. The bleachers they were on were collapsible and they had people get down behind the panels in between the volley of gunfire. He said the event staff had left immediately, and he had to think quickly with his friend Davis. MacNeill spent years with the RCMP auxiliary and Davis is a firefighter and emergency responder.

“People had no idea where to go or what to do. Gord and I started ushering them between the bleachers into safety,” he said. Every time the shots started again they had people get behind the bleachers, and when it stopped they started moving.

He saw people on portable chairs completely oblivious to what was going on, and they ushered them out of the area, away from the gunfire. Concertgoers were panicking and many times he had to stop people from trampling over others. There was no organization, no police, just MacNeill and Davis assisting hundreds of people trying to flee.

“It just seemed like it was taking forever,” he said.

READ MORE: B.C. man killed in Las Vegas shooting

Eventually, off-duty police came in and took over from MacNeill and Davis and they were able to find safety with their wives. When they finally left the music venue, he saw a man with a bloody bandage on his head who was refusing assistance. MacNeill gained his trust and examined the wound, it wasn’t critical. Later, when they were in lock-down at the Tropicana hotel, he found the man had collapsed in the bathroom and they helped him get medical attention.

“They kept us into lock-down in Tropicana until 3:30 a.m. in the morning. It was hard to get information on what was accurate and what wasn’t accurate. Big hats off to the police force that are there. It was crazy to see that many police,” MacNeill said.

He also knew quite a few people from Prince Rupert that were right beside people that were killed, and is so thankful they escaped the mass shooting with their lives.

On Monday night, they flew into Terrace and on the drive back to the North Coast, MacNeill said that was when it all began to sink in.

“For the most part we’re okay, but there’s a lot of people that will not be,” he said.

The Las Vegas shooting is the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, with at least 59 people killed and 527 injured. The shooter’s motive is still unknown.

Just Posted

Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations open new RV Park

Both nations excited about new economic venture

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

UPDATE: Victoria hosts first National Cannabis Conference

Vendors, shoppers and cannabis-curious folk head to the Victoria Conference Centre

Victoria High School students find themselves in a ‘Hairy’ situation

Vic High drama students performing modern version of Broadway musical ‘Hair’

Ready for day two at the Home Expo

One exhibitor, Atlas Junk Removal, uses their trucks for a good cause

VIDEO: Moose found licking salt off B.C. man’s pickup truck

Tab Baker was in his garage in Prince George when the small moose gave his truck a clean

Spring Home Show this weekend in Colwood

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

B.C. student makes short-list for autism advocacy award

Brody Butts honoured for his role as a mentor and self-advocate

Austin Powers ‘Mini-Me’, Verne Troyer, dies at 49

Facebook page confirmed his death Saturday afternoon

Alberta man dead after snowmobile collision on B.C. mountain

The incident occurred on Boulder Mountain Friday morning

16 of 20 fastest improving B.C. schools are public: Fraser Institute

Independent elementary schools remain at top of the chart in think tank’s annual report card

Dinosaurs taking centre stage at National Geographic event

NatGeo Live series finale May 2 at the Royal features renowned paleontologist

UPDATED: 1 person dead after highway crash in Nanoose Bay

Accident happened just before 4 p.m. near Hillview Road

NAFTA: Talks continue through weekend in scramble to get a deal

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland called negotiations ‘perpetual’

Most Read