Red Deerian Jason Beisick says he went to Las Vegas for a getaway and good music.
But his vacation quickly turned into chaos and terror.
Beisick was at the Jason Aldean concert when a gunman opened fire Sunday night in Las Vegas.
“It was a mad dash,” he said.
He saw people running around, screaming and crying.
Beisick, 41, his wife Tina, 40, were in Las Vegas for the Route 91 Harvest Festival, a three-day country music festival.
Two other friends from Red Deer accompanied the couple.
At first the 41-year-old was not sure what was happening — maybe it was part of the concert, he said.
“Maybe it was fireworks or something, but then we realized it was real and everybody started to take cover and then get up and run,” he said.
He said everybody was just running wherever they could go. All he thought was run as fast as you can, and run as far as you can. The group ran four blocks, or for about 10 minutes, but Beisick said “it seemed forever.
“The whole time we were running we could hear the gunfire,” he recalled.
Reports confirm Stephen Craig Paddock, 64, from Mesquite, Nev., opened fire when country musician Jason Aldean was performing on stage late Sunday evening. More than 55 people are confirmed dead while hundreds have been injured.
Paddock opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino and the concert was taking place across the street, said Beisick.
Aldean was the last artist lined up for the night and the gunshots were heard about 15 minutes into his set, Beisick said.
He said there were two exits at the concert, one exit was near the hotel, where the gunshots were heard. So he and Tina, along with two other friends, ran towards the other exit.
Just as the people inside the concert were trying to figure out what was happening, the people out on the streets were trying to do the same.
Minutes before the chaos struck, Red Deer’s Kendra Joyce and two of her friends exited the concert gates because they had seen Jason Aldean in concert before. As they were leaving, they heard gun shots and weren’t sure what was happening. Then the group saw police officers and first responders rushing, followed by the crowd who was exiting the concert.
Everyone was scared, elevators were jammed with people and everyone was racing to their hotels, said Joyce, a student.
The group made it back to the their hotel — a couple blocks away. There, Joyce saw a guy bleeding from his shoulder. Joyce said he may have been shot. The hotel was managing an emergency services corner where nurses and other first responders were giving patients medical attention.
“The only way I can describe it is surreal. You see things like that on TV,” said Joyce, 28.
Along the way, the girls picked up a younger group of concert goers who seemed scared. So Joyce and her friends offered them to join them at their hotel, where all of them camped out for the night, watching the news.
Sticking together is exactly what Beisick and his group did, despite the chaos. He said, Tina and his two friends, were all there for each other that night.
Just like Joyce, Beisick said he has never seen anything like this.
“People were scrambling. It was surreal and chaotic,” said Beisick.
Beisick and Tina are heading home to Red Deer on Tuesday night.
In Red Deer, Beisick works as a project manager at Richards Consulting &Associates. He has lived in Red Deer since 2001.