What started as a fun-filled three-day weekend in Las Vegas for a Fullerton woman and her friends turned into panic and horror when a lone gunman opened fire on an open-air country music festival in Las Vegas Sunday night, killing 50 and wounding more than 400.
“I knew it had to be gunshots,” said Ximena Mejorado, 26, of Fullerton who was at the show with a group of friends. All of them survived. “There were a lot of rounds and it just kept going. You would hear one (burst) after another, after another. I knew it was someone trying to harm people.”
Mejorado said she and her friend, Jessica, were near the front and to the left of the stage listening to singer Jason Aldean when they heard a short series of pops.
“We looked around and wondered, ‘Did you hear that?’ ” the 26-year-old recounted Monday morning from her hotel room in Las Vegas. When no one reacted, not even Aldean, the women continued listening to the music, but then it became clear that something sinister was taking place.
“Then we saw that Jason run off the stage, and everyone just got on the floor,” she said. “That’s when we started hearing rounds and realized there’s a shooting here.”
Mejorado and her friend began dodging, ducking and dropping to the floor and trying to run to safety amidst the confusion and panic.
“We didn’t know if there was a shooter on the ground, or running after people, or if their intention was to get everyone out and then shoot them there,” she said.
What they didn’t know until much later — and after they were safe — was that Las Vegas Metropolitan Police officials say 64-year-old, Stephen Craig Paddock, of Mesquite, Nevada, opened fire on the crowd from a hotel room inside the Mandalay Bay resort.
The shooting is still under investigation. A motive was not released.
Mejorado said she was so focused on getting to safety she didn’t really look around to see if anyone had been struck by the gunfire but did note that she did catch a glimpse of a woman whose face was covered in blood.
As they ran, several people helped them get over barriers and walls to safety.
“There was a big wall, and there was a gentleman that was helping us get over,” she said. “One girl also helped me get over a wall. Because it was big, on the way down there was also someone there to grab my hand to make sure I didn’t get hurt.”
The women ran out and found refuge inside a woman’s hotel room at the Desert Rose Resort near the Tropicana…