She hit the ground to try to escape the gunfire.
Lying on artificial turf near the country music stage, Melissa Fierro grabbed her phone and sent her husband, Anton, a text: “Gunshots. I love you.”
He thought those words were lyrics from a song by Jason Aldeen, who was on stage.
Seconds later someone yelled, “Run!”
Feirro was heading toward the exit when the popping sounds got faster and faster. Her friend Amber Brown was 20 feet ahead. They had known each other since they were 12 years old. They had gone to Las Vegas to celebrate their 40th birthdays. The spent $260 on three-day concert passes.
Fierro yelled, “Amber!”
They lost track of each other in the chaos.
A bullet hit Fierro.
Fierro, of Whittier, said it felt like a paint ball exploded on her shoulder. There wasn’t much pain, at first.
She ran toward a food truck and saw a group of people. She sat down to rest.
“I think I just got shot,” she said.
A man with a crew cut stepped forward. She doesn’t know his name. She said he looked like he was in his late 20s. He may have had military experience.
“Yes, you’ve been shot,” he said.
He helped her up and put pressure on her wound.
They ran through a House of Blues shack with a tin roof. They stopped for a second to hide.
The crew cut man told her, “This place isn’t secure. You need to run.”
He helped Fierro make it to an ambulance.
Then he ran off to help other people. She never got a chance to thank him or the three women who sat with her while she waited for the emergency technicians to reach her.
Fierro was transported to Sunrise Memorial Hospital. She sat in a wheelchair in the waiting room. She saw a woman who had been shot in the face. The nurses in the hospital were calm and seemed to have the situation under control.
“It hurt a lot,” Fierro said. “There were people who were more hurt than I was.”
The bullet had shattered her scapula. The doctor told her that removing the bullet might cause more damage than leaving it in.
“I’m going to have a bullet in my shoulder for the rest of my life,” Fierro said. “I got a souvenir to take home.”
She said she learned about human nature at that concert venue in Las Vegas.
“I was so impressed,” Fierro said. “It wasn’t just every man for himself. I heard somebody saying, ‘We’re all Americans. We’re all going to be OK.’ It was amazing. I’m luckier than a lot of people.”
Fierro was released from the hospital at about 6 a.m. Monday. She met…