(APTN correspondent Larissa Burnouf, second from the left, with friends at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas)
Kathleen Martens and Larissa Burnouf
An APTN National News reporter is on her way home to Saskatchewan from Las Vegas after passing on a concert on the city’s main strip where dozens of people were killed and hundreds more wounded by a lone gunman.
Larissa Burnouf said for some reason she changed her mind about going and gave her Route 91 Harvest Music Festival wristband to her friend – who is a nurse.
“She said people ducked down and then she noticed people weren’t getting back up,” said Burnouf after a conversation with her friend. “They fled behind liquor stands and she said she’s a nurse and has never seen so much blood. She said bodies were everywhere, blood was everywhere, and it was mass chaos and terror.
“They are safe. They ran out the back. They ran down and away from the strip.”
Other friends who were there told Burnouf they scaled a tall fence to get away.
“They ran to the hotel behind there and were told once inside the shooter was coming and ran through a kitchen and up stairwells and (were) hunkered down in a room with a couple from California. All of the hotels are under lockdown.”
Larissa Burnouf was crediting “an angel” for keeping her and her friends safe after the gunman opened fire on 22,000 concert goers.
“I’m safe. My friends are safe. We’re all pretty freaked out,” Burnouf said in an email to her co-workers at APTN.
Police said one man is responsible for firing hundreds of rounds of ammunition at concert-goers at the outdoor venue on the Law Vegas strip from his room on the 32nd floor at the nearby Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino.
So far authorities say more than 50 people were killed more than 500 were wounded.
Instead of going to the concert, Burnouf was playing poker at the MGM Grand Hotel when suddenly, panic broke out.
“People came screaming ‘Shooter! Shooter!’ and we all hit the deck. I scraped up my leg from the sheer panic and hysteria and we all hid under tables and ran and fled for our lives.”
Burnouf said the hotel ordered everyone to stay in their rooms under lockdown until Monday morning.
Once it was lifted, Burnouf learned the shooter was a Nevada man found dead in his room, of an apparent suicide.
“(My husband) and I are thankful our friends are OK and feel terrible sending our other friends into a slaughter in our place using our tickets. Someone was watching over us and we truly feel divine intervention led to us to change our minds one hour before Jason Aldean’s set was about to begin.
“We are in shock and there are no words to describe what we are living right now. Someone was watching over us today and we are alive because of it. Bullets were hitting people next to our friends. That could have been us, that could have been them… our prayers are with all of those affected and we are thankful our friends made it out alive.”
The couple have two young children waiting for them at home in Saskatoon, where Burnouf is a video-journalist for APTN.
The death toll continues to mount in what authorities now say is the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
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