What started as a lovely Sunday evening to lose yourself amidst music turned into terror when a gunman started to wreak havoc on a crowd of more than 22000 people just having a good time. The massacre resulted in the death of 59 people, including the shooter, Stephen Paddock, who is believed to have shot himself before getting caught by the authorities.
In the midst of the 20000+ people who were struggling to survive as Paddock opened gunfire from the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas hotel, there were some brave-hearts who instead of running for their lives, chose to stay and help others. One such brave soul was Robert Ledbetter, a retired army veteran who has served the U.S. Army Rangers as a scout sniper.
Trained for war, Ledbetter’s instincts kicked in when he heard rounds after rounds and people falling down. Now a loan officer, he recalled how it sounded like fireworks when the massacre started but soon realized what was, in fact, going on. Tending to the wounded and everyone else who needed help, Ledbetter undeniably saved many lives. After securing his wife underneath a platform which looked like bleachers, he went out looking for the shooter. Trotting in the bewildered crowd, he came across many injured people, giving them the ad hoc first aid to the best of his abilities.
Another heroic soul that emerged out of this horrific incident is the 30-year-old Jonathan Smith, who is believed to have saved the life of about 30 people. Smith was at the festival with his nine family member, including his elder brother Louis Rust who grabbed everyone and told them to run when the shooting began. Smith turned back to get his nieces when they got separated in the perplexed crowd.
The courageous guy did not stop there as he kept shouting for the fear-struck concert-goers to keep moving, pushing them towards the parking area. The only thing that stopped the copy-machine engineer from getting everyone out was a bullet which struck him in the neck, bruising a lung, cracking a rib and fracturing his collarbone while he was reaching out to a group of children. Smith might have to live with the bullet for the rest of his life as the doctors have left the same in its place for now.
Another hero of this incident was Sonny Melton, a registered nurse at the Henry County Medical Center in Paris, Tennessee, who was attending the Route 91 Harvest Festival with wife Heather, an orthopedic surgeon when Paddock started raining bullets on the unalarmed crowd. In an interview with a radio station, Heather recalled the incident of 1st October, stating how her husband grabbed her and started running when she felt him getting shot in the back. Remembering her late husband, the devastated widow further said, “I want everyone to know what a kind-hearted, loving man he was, but at this point, I can barely breathe.”
The courage that these ordinary people showed in the time of adversity, putting their own lives in danger to save others shows that humanity isn’t dead in the world and if there is one person trying to harm others, there are more trying to protect them. This was our small attempt to try to acknowledge the bravery and courage of these people who became special in that moment.