Oct. 11, 2017 — Daniela Gelay hasn’t determined what to do with the denims she was carrying on the Route 91 Harvest competition in Las Vegas. Her mom washed them. The blood got here out. However the occasions she lived by that night time left stains no detergent might take away.
Gelay’s boyfriend, Daniel Buzzard, had shocked her with passes to the Three-day competition for her 22nd birthday.
By the third day of the competition, which ran Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, Gelay says she was drained and nearly didn’t go; however she didn’t wish to waste her boyfriend’s beneficiant current.
About four p.m. that Sunday, they made their method from their lodge again to the live performance venue, which was a couple of mile away.
Gelay says meals and drinks on the venue have been expensive, in order that they stopped alongside the way in which at Hooters for a $5 bucket of beer and one final likelihood to relaxation their toes earlier than what they knew can be hours of standing and strolling between the competition’s large outside phases. They met up together with her boyfriend’s mom and two of his different relations and made their approach to the live performance.
She was most excited to see Jason Aldean, who was headlining that night time.
They began the night far-off from the stage behind the group. However as individuals would depart or the bands would take a break, her group pushed ahead to be up entrance for Aldean’s present.
Gelay says Aldean had began the fifth tune of his set — she doesn’t keep in mind what it was –when she first heard the sound she will be able to’t neglect.
Tat-tat-tat. Tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat. The primary pictures cracked over their heads.
“We have been like, ‘What’s that?’ ” she says.
The 2 guys in entrance of them guessed that it is perhaps a BB gun or fireworks. However they weren’t apprehensive. Others didn’t appear to even hear it.
“However we seen that it was one thing,” she says.
The second burst of bullets spat down on them for a full 11 seconds.
Aldean froze mid-song, clutched his guitar to his aspect, and ran off the stage. Gelay says that’s when the group appeared to catch on that one thing was unsuitable.
“Everybody realized it was gunshots. Everybody dropped to the ground. It was mass panic,” she says.
Gelay says a lady that had been standing behind them a number of seconds earlier was on the bottom.
“I didn’t see her face or something, however I noticed she was laying on the ground and folks round her have been turning to her and attempting to assist her,” she says. “I don’t know if she made it.”
Her boyfriend stated “get down!” He lay down on prime of her to protect her from the bullets, which have been coming at them in lengthy, terrifying volleys with unnerving pauses in between.
“We have been all actually scared. I used to be crying and my boyfriend and telling him that I beloved him quite a bit.”
Gelay says they have been pinned to the bottom for 3 to 4 rounds of fireside. Everybody round them was nonetheless on the bottom, and folks have been yelling at one another to remain low and keep put. They have been in what individuals later known as “the lifeless zone” on the proper entrance of the stage.
No one knew the place the pictures have been coming from or that being low to the bottom wouldn’t defend them from the shooter, who was perched excessive above them on the 32nd flooring of the Mandalay Bay lodge.
Gelay says she remembers the precise second her boyfriend instructed her to run. “He stated we’ve to get out of right here.”
The shooter had stopped once more. The sample was a protracted pause. They figured that they had 15 seconds to maneuver.
There wasn’t a transparent path. Folks have been nonetheless mendacity on the bottom. Some have been injured. Some have been simply too scared to maneuver.
“We have been attempting to maneuver round them. I keep in mind a number of pushing and shoving,” she says.
To get out, they needed to cross in entrance of the stage to recover from fences on the opposite aspect — the aspect farthest from the Mandalay Bay.
They went over two fences to flee. David Becker, a photographer who was masking the live performance for Getty Pictures, snapped an image of Gelay and her boyfriend fleeing for his or her lives.
The capturing continued for over 10 minutes. It appeared to by no means finish.
“We ran for like a mile. I used to be barefoot at this level. I misplaced my flip-flops. I ran barefoot. We have been simply operating,” she stated.
Finally they made it to the Desert Rose Resort, a low, stucco-covered advanced that sits a couple of mile from the competition.
“This very nice woman stated, ‘You guys can come conceal in right here.’ There have been in all probability 20-30 of us hiding on this girl’s house,” Gelay says.
A person got here in with a gunshot wound in his arm. “He stated he was an EMT. So he knew he was OK. He knew the bullet was lodged in his arm. I feel somebody made a tourniquet to tie it off.”
Even injured, the person went across the room, checking on different individuals, asking in the event that they have been OK.
Gelay says the shock began to set in. She was shaking throughout. Then she seen the blood on her pants.
“I began feeling to see if I used to be shot. I knew I had a complete bunch of adrenaline going by me and perhaps I didn’t really feel it. However finally we realized it was different individuals’s blood,” she says. She wasn’t bodily injured.
Gelay, who’s getting a level in legal justice on the College of Nevada, Las Vegas, says she seems like she’s doing OK. However issues are completely different now.
“I can’t hear any loud noises. They freak me out,” she says., Somebody just lately lit firecrackers outdoors the automobile dealership the place she works. “I nearly began crying. My arms have been shaking,” she says.
Her boyfriend went to a bar along with his associates the opposite night time, simply to get out of his home and be round individuals once more. He requested Gelay to go together with him, however she says it felt overwhelming.
“I simply don’t suppose I could be in public gatherings like that with lots of people,” she says. “It’s laborious to belief individuals. Do you may have good intentions? Do you look suspicious? I do know it’s dangerous to suppose like that, however I don’t wish to put myself in that place once more,” she says.
Gelay says she has watched the information protection and the movies of the capturing for hours on social media. “I can’t cease watching it. I wish to see if it’s one thing I keep in mind,” she says, “However the second that I hear the gunshots, I can’t watch. They’re piercing to my ears.”
Fortunately, all their family and friends additionally made it out alive.
She hasn’t been to any of the memorials or vigils. She doesn’t wish to be wherever close to the Strip.
And he or she feels dangerous, like she and her boyfriend didn’t do sufficient to assist others get out. A fight veteran good friend instructed her that’s known as survivor’s guilt.
“We each want that we might have helped individuals. We’re very grateful that we made it out alive, however we simply have that survivor’s guilt that we made it out alive and different individuals didn’t,” she says.