Sean MacDonald is a “military brat” with New England roots and a Red Sox photo on his Twitter profile page.
He has lived in Las Vegas for four years and works for a medical startup. His Sunday agenda included pretty good seats east of center stage at the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas. Thursday’s Red Sox-Bruins-Patriots triple header loomed large on his weekly calendar.
Then an unimaginable evil unfolded in Sin City from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel at about 10:10 p.m. local time Sunday. MacDonald and 22,000 others were in its sights.
Country singer Jason Aldean was four songs into his show when all hell broke loose. Scores were killed, hundreds were wounded and thousands more will suffer.
MacDonald, who attended the festival with his mom, heard several popping sounds he had initially mistaken as firecrackers.
“Everyone heard a short burst of a popping sound,” MacDonald said via email. “We heard it again … and Aldean was suddenly rushed off stage with the band by security. People began screaming and ducking for cover, unsure of which direction the bullets were coming from. … The burst of popping became frequent and longer.”
MacDonald, his mom and those around him got off the ground when the shooting stopped and were able to escape through an exit into a nearby parking lot. He saw others trying to scale nearby fences.
“Everyone was ducking behind vehicles that were still (parked),” he recalled. MacDonald and his mom headed toward the MGM Grand — where they had parked.
“On- and off-duty officers were awesome to respond along with all other emergency services. There were volunteers/first responders assisting those wounded,” MacDonald said.
On Tropicana Avenue outside the MGM Grand, MacDonald said he helped stop traffic for about 10 minutes so emergency vehicles could get through. He then drove home with his mom, who was visiting from Alaska.
“We both made it out with only scrapes and bruises,” he said. “I can only imagine what others and their loved ones are going through that were less fortunate.”
There are no more safe spaces in our world. The past 25 years have ensured that. The World Trade Center was attacked — twice. A federal building was blown apart with a truck full of fertilizer. Columbine High School became a killing ground. Our schools have been taking gunfire ever since. Fort Hood has withstood two shootings since 2009. The Boston Marathon finish line is now sacred ground.