Students recall massacre memories
CSC students, John Murphy and Riley Ellis, traveled home safely from Las Vegas after the mass shooting at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Sunday night.
Murphy, 21, senior of Harrison, and his two friends, Ellis, 21, junior of Harrison, and friend Antonio Lopez, 23 of Boulder, Colorado, traveled to Vegas Friday night after finding $40 round trip tickets.
“We found the tickets and thought, ‘what the heck, why not go?’” Murphy said.
Sunday night, the three men continued their weekend of gambling and fun at their hotel, Harrah’s Las Vegas. After debating whether to travel five hotels down to the Mandalay Bay for a buffet, gambling and music, Murphy said they decided to wait. It was later that night they realized they had made a smart choice.
At 10:08 p.m., police received a call about Stephen Paddock, 64, shooting from his 32nd-floor room at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, states the New York Times.
“All of a sudden I heard a big boom and people screaming. There was a shooter and they had a gun,” Murphy said. He immediately alerted Ellis and Lopez, who both had headphones in at the time.
The three ducked under a table and Murphy checked Twitter to find out the details of the incident.
Ellis said, “It was a little confusing because on one end there were security guards that were saying ‘nothing is going on,’ but on the other end, everyone was saying to stay down.”
After five minutes, Murphy, Ellis and Lopez headed up to their room to check the news. Murphy called his parents to let them know of the situation and inform them that the men were safe.
“Initially when we turned on the news there were probably two people that had died and 40 that were injured,” Ellis said.
According to the New York Times most recent update Wednesday evening, the fatalities of the mass shooting rose to 59 with over 500 injured. The shooting is deemed the deadliest mass shooting in the United States.
The next morning, the men woke up to an overwhelming response to the tragedy and people concerned for their safety. Murphy states he had 24 text messages and 22 Snapchats when he checked his phone at 7 a.m.
“It was hard to process it all at one time because we thought about going down to the [Mandalay Bay],” said Ellis.
Monday morning, the men continued to tour Vegas and noticed the abundance of police and security stationed in the city. The Strip was closed, but they were able to see the windows shot out at the Mandalay Bay.
Murphy, Ellis and Lopez safely left Las Vegas Monday morning and returned home, grateful that they chose to stay at Harrah’s Sunday night.