On Oct. 1, a gunman opened fire on a country music festival from the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas hotel, killing at least 58 people and injuring over 500 others, making it the deadliest mass shooting in United States history.
Country music singer Jason Aldean was performing at the time when the shots rang out. Aldean stopped in the middle of the song he was performing and ran off stage after realizing what was happening.
It was in that moment that all hell broke loose.
Gail Davis, who was at the Las Vegas outdoor country music concert Sunday night, witnessed the terrifying scene and spoke to news outlets.
“We went there to see Jason Aldean," Davis said. "We were standing, like, maybe halfway up. He came on and about 20 [minutes] to 10 p.m., he sang about five songs and all of a sudden, we heard about three or four little pop, pop, pops, and everybody looked around and said, 'Oh, it's just firecrackers.' And then we heard pop, pop, pop, and it just kept going and going, and my husband said, 'That's not firecrackers. That sounds like a semi-automatic rifle.' And then everybody started screaming and started to run.”
The gunman was identified as Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old white male from Mesquite, Nevada. Paddock was a retired accountant who enjoyed playing $100-a-hand poker, according to his brother.
Paddock was found dead in the hotel room from here the shots were coming from. According to law enforcement, Paddock shot and killed himself before a SWAT team breached the door.
As a community that is reeling from a horrific tragedy, Coastal Carolina Public Safety Captain Thomas Mezzapelle offered his thoughts and prayers to those affected by the shooting.
“Our hearts and thoughts go out to all affected by this,” said Mezzapelle. “I have family from the area and I checked in on them this morning when I heard the news.”
While it has been 10 years since 32 people lost their lives in one of the worst school shootings in United States happened at Virginia Tech, Mezzapelle wants the Coastal Carolina community to know that they're all in good hands.
“Our officers go through multiple trainings every year on this particular subject,” said Mezzapelle. “We have multiple trainers in the S.A.F.E. Program that are part of our department so they definitely know the subject very well. We have done everything from table top exercises to live exercises, everything that we can possibly train ourselves in in preparation for the worst.”
Mezzapelle encouraged faculty and students to attend a S.A.F.E. Program training that will give them all the information they need to know should an active shooter situation present itself on campus.
“Those programs are the best way to get all the information they need to know,” said Mezzapelle. “When it comes to these situations, you can’t have just one form of protocol because every situation is different.”
The University released a statement late Monday about the deadly shooting:
Staff at The Chanticleer send our thoughts and prayers to those affected by this horrible tragedy. May there be light in this time of darkness.