A witness to the horrific mass shooting at the country music festival at the Mandalay Bay Resort spoke out about the police response to the assault that resulted in at least 59 deaths and injuries to more than 520, saying, “In a world where everyone’s kneeling, every one of these police officers were going directly into the danger zone.”
As reported by Today, Russell Bleck was in the VIP tent at the Route 91 Harvest festival when the shooting began. He witnessed police officers and numerous concert-goers, whom Bleck assumed were military veterans based on their actions, jump into action even as “everyone else was crouching” and taking cover.
Bleck stated, “While everyone was crouching here, I mean, every one of these police officers, I didn’t see a single one taking cover, I mean these guys were going directly into the danger zone.”
He also said, “You saw a lot of ex-military just jump into gear. I saw guys plugging bullet holes with their fingers.”
Bleck asserted, “The amount of bravery I saw there, words can’t describe what it was like.”
Initially, Bleck and his fiancée believed they heard firecrackers or an amplifier crackling before they realized it was gunfire.
“That was an automatic rifle, without a doubt. He was just spraying the crowd. He was relentless. There was no stopping,” said Bleck. “You have five, maybe eight seconds to move from cover to cover to try to move and get out of there as he reloaded.”
Local authorities stated that the shooter, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, was on the 32nd floor of the hotel when he opened fire on the crowd during Jason Aldean’s performance. The crowd was said to consist of over 22,000 people.
According to Clark County Sherriff, Joe Lombardo, Paddock killed himself before police officers were able to reach him.
Bleck stated he witnessed people “dropping left and right” while bullets “ricocheted” around him. He was unable to determine where the shots were coming from based on his vantage point.
“There was just no telling. And then, it would echo throughout the area, so nobody knew where to go,” said Bleck. “And then, all of the sudden, people would run away from a safe area, but you didn’t know if it was safe. It was just absolute chaos and carnage.”
He also said that there were “10-foot” walls around the concert area, limiting where concert-goers could go when they attempted to flee.