ELKO – An outdoor country music festival turned into tragedy Sunday night when a gunman fired into a crowd of more than 22,000, killing at least 58 people and injuring 515.
Attending the three-day Route 91 Harvest Festival was Keith Moyle, an Elko native now living in Tonopah. He was with friends 150 feet away from the stage on the southeast side of the complex, watching Jason Aldean perform when shots rang out.
“At first it sounded like firecrackers or fireworks,” Moyle said, speaking from Tonopah. “The first pop-pop-pop and then everyone was like ‘what’s going on’ and some people got down. And then it happened again, you could hear bullets around us.”
Moyle said he saw “people dropping everywhere. It was crazy.” He hid behind a piece of metal “to see what was going on” and soon a couple joined him. The girl was bleeding heavily from her arm.
“I told her friend to keep direct pressure [on the arm],” Moyle said. “You could see from her heartbeat an artery got hit.”
Moyle said the scene was “mass hysteria, basically.” He started to run, even though bullets were still coming down.
“It seemed like forever,” Moyle said. “Kept shooting and shooting and shooting. A bullet hit next to me, and it sprayed rocks on my legs.”
Separated from his friends who “took off” at the start of the shooting, Moyle ran away from the crowds and toward the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, running through and exiting the building until he got to a gas station.
“A guy gave me a ride back to my hotel,” Moyle said, adding that his feet were “a little bit scraped up” because he kicked his flip-flops off to run.
His friends ended up at a shelter set up at Thomas & Mack Center at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
“They’re OK,” Moyle said.
The shooter, Stephen Craig Paddock, 64, of Mesquite was found dead of an apparent suicide in his hotel room on the 44th floor at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
The motive for the shooting remains unclear, according to Las Vegas authorities.
“No one knew what was going on,” Moyle said. “You could tell it was coming from the Mandalay.”