Kelowna woman witnesses Las Vegas mass shooting

The Kelowna resident heard the loud crackling sound of gunfire and the screams of panicked men and women

At first, Tami Johnson noticed the police cars and ambulances blocking access to the Las Vegas hotel where she’d been staying.

Then, when she got out of her Uber and started walking, the Kelowna resident started to hear the loud cracking of gunfire and the screams of panicked men and women, stampeding away from danger.

Related: B.C. man one of two Canadians killed in Las Vegas shooting

“The shots went on for five minutes … we just ran for safety and ended up hiding out in a ditch behind a gas station,” said Johnson, who hunkered down for four hours alongside her 13 year old daughter.

“Police kept telling us to get down and stay down … and there were people yelling and screaming. You couldn’t be anywhere near the strip and not see it.”

When gunfire ended, the chaos continued.

The parking lot of the Hooters hotel where she is staying is just a stone’s throw from where the country music concert, Route 91 Harvest took place. It was roped off for the investigation and Johnson and its other guests weren’t allowed into the hotel until 7 a.m. Monday. Once it opened its doors, it was far from being a homecoming.

Related: 58 killed in mass shooting in Las Vegas

“There are a lot of people who were killed that were staying in our hotel,” she said.

Victim’s services has set up in the hotel to offer support to those who are stuffering with the emotional fallout of the violence.

Those who witnessed unthinkable violence are making use of the service while others, who have who were simply displaced from the Mandalay hotel are finding refuge in the hotel’s public amenities.

“As soon as the hotels opened people flooded the casinos, cozied up under a slot machine and waited for the OK to go back to their hotels,” she said. “People camped out in the casino, sleeping on BlackJack tables and stuff.”

Related: Revelstoke women escape mass shooting

The atmosphere is heavy and getting their bearings is a struggle, though Johnson said she knows she’s lucky to have survived when so many didn’t. The lone shooter killed at least 58 people and injured more than 500.

“We’re in shock right now,” said Johnson.

“A lady we hung out with at the pool was one of the victims. She was killed. We spent four hours with her last night, and I even bought her a jello shot, and we talked about politics, Trump and guns …an hour ago I went downstairs and the group she was with said she had passed away.”

Pray for Vegas.

Posted by Tami Johnson on Sunday, October 1, 2017

Johnson said that the counsellor at her daughter’s school has already reached out to help in the days ahead. Otherwise, they’re still in the middle of the unfolding tragedy, and getting perspective will likely be impossible until they’re safe at home.

Just Posted

Smoking ban arrives on BC Ferries

No crackdown, just education as BC Ferries enacts smoking ban

UPDATE: Whiskey Creek floodwaters subside

Area roads reopened following Sunday morning closure

Parksville water project seeks new manager

City operations manager moves to new job with RDN

Man receives four-year sentence for stabbing Good Samaritan near Qualicum Beach

Jeffrey Brian MacDonald sentenced to additional 242 days in jail

SOGI rally disrupts school board meeting, but business carries on

Chilliwack school board makes statement in support of B.C.-wide gender identity teaching resource

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Tofino and Ucluelet wowed by biggest waves in a decade

“Even in pictures you show the kids and that, unless you’re witnessing it live, it’s like no other.”

Police fear fewer fentanyl imports don’t signal the end of the overdose crisis

RCMP say it’s just as likely that criminal are getting more clever

UPDATE: Two people die in ATV accident south of Campbell River

Third person survived attempt to cross a creek

Coal dust escaping rail cars spurs B.C. petition

Local governments are on board with Shuswap resident’s request for better control of escaping particulate

Lawyers slam ‘de facto expulsion’ of student guilty of sexual interference

Calgary student guilty of sexual assault of a minor allowed to finish semester

B.C. NDP set to restructure union bargaining

School trustees to regain control over employer group

UPDATE: Police continue to seek missing Qualicum Beach woman

Oceanside RCMP requesting public assistance in locating Carmel Georgina Gilmour

New development in missing plane near Revelstoke

The family of Ashley Bourgeault believe they have found a new clue

Most Read