Normally my blog post are fun about life experiences, fashion, beauty all the good stuff. This post is about to be a little more somber… this past weekend I attended the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas. I’ve been going to the festival the past 3 years. It’s full of fun drinks and an awesome get away weekend in Vegas. Sadly it wasn’t the case for this year.
Sunday night around 10 pm Jason Aldean took the stage. He sang a couple of songs. We danced and we’re having a ball. (Me and my family attend a Jason Aldean concert every year it’s our families favorite artist) When Jason sang “when she says baby” there was 6 pop noises. I look at the terror in my bestfriend Emily’s eyes, my parents eyes, and my cousins eyes. My heart dropped. We look at each other saying is it a speaker? Is it fire crackers? Is it a weird sound effect? Fire works? As these thoughts are running through our heads another pop pop pop goes on for what seems forever. We notice Jason ran off the stage. Right then in that moment we knew it was a gun shot. We didn’t know if it was in the crowd, we didnt have a clue where it was coming from. When we heard the silence we knew the shooter was reloading or it was over so we decide to run. We didn’t know in the moment if it’d start back up when we decided to run instantly we all ducked and covered. It crossed my mind where is my sister she’s in the crowd but I had to put one foot in front of the other. My life was on the line in the hands of a careless man killing tons of people. When we proceeded to start running again in the few seconds of silence more shots were fired and I turned around.. my parents and cousins were gone. I thought they were really gone. I figured if they aren’t behind me so they were shot. I thought my family had been shot. What do you do? Why weren’t they behind me? All these horrible thoughts run through your mind. I turned to run back towards the gun fire to find them and my friend grabbed my arm and said no. No jodie. You need to get your shit together and we need to get out of here. They will be okay. FaceTiming calling close friends, friends of friends crying saying I love them I’ll just never forget not knowing if my life was about to end in any given moment. Not knowing if my family was gone if my sister got out. The Gun shots went on for 11 minutes…
We ran as fast as we could to the exits where police were saying do not go this way. The veune had exits… they were just on the side of the shooting. As i’m Still calling friends with gun shots in the background saying I love you & goodbye. In the next following moments I finally got ahold of my sister. A chilling phone call I’ll never ever forget. She said she made it out but could tell I had not yet. Sobbing I told her I love her so much. I hope to see you soon. I hope to see you soon. No clue if I could hug my sister again. No clue if I was still going to be a target. Then I told her I will make it out of here. I hung up & We ran through retail booths to a far wall where two men were staying behind throwing people over a wall. We ran and ran till we made it to the Tropicana where workers were yelling go to the ball room. We were half way there I got a hold of my parents who were at hooters. They Told us to stay where we were and they’d come to us. After that phone call someone screamed there was a shooter in the hotel. In that moment we ran as fast as we could getting a call from my parents saying they made it to Tropicana. The confusion was real. They were with my cousins who I spoke to and told them where we were in hooters and to get out of Tropicana there’s a shooter. Me and emily were in the maids area in hooters where a black man was helping us giving us water.. (I specify the color of his skin. Because in these moment everyone was helping everyone Black, White, Mexican, pink blue, purple) we were all Americans, we were all people. In this moment no one saw color. Race anything. Just people helping people. They just saw people in need. Me and Emily drank some water caught out breath sobbed and waited for my family to make it.
The moment of being reunited was an unreal feeling. My mom, my dad, cousins Jeff & Brenda and concert goer Julie we were sitting by all okay. Just some scratches and bruises. I cried asked my mom if Jamie my sister was okay. She said she went back to help I was sobbing so proud and so mad at her for staying. So many emotions got the best of me. Seeing people running shot bodies on the ground.. it all start hiting me. My mom said My sister finally contacted she was safe with police and first responders. We were walking around hooters trying to found out where to go. A worker walked by and screamed for everyone injured to go to the front of the hotel. All the sudden everyone runs and start yelling there’s a shooter in hooters. We ran out a back door through an ally way where we saw a small diner Cocos. We ran in there and sat in a booth to collect our thoughts.
My sister called us & an off duty cab driver offer to give my sister and the man she was with John who saved my sisters life and kept her calm a ride. They got a ride and went to some good friends of mine house way off the strip. He gave her his number and he offered to get us and bring us to my friends house.
After this phone call we sat around a table at cocos my dad looked at all of us and said I think we need to pray. We all held hands and prayed. Prayed to God to make it stop. Prayed to God to not have so many lives lost. Prayed to God to stay safe hug our friends and family again. Prayed to God thanking him we were unharmed in this moment. Many say is there a God when all this is happening? I saw so much of the devils and Gods work all in one night. Gods work of people saving people. Men throwing us over walls to safety. People covering people being shot for one another. Carrying people out. That’s God’s work my friends.
After this moment of prayer an off duty police offer made an announcement that we were going on lock down. Apologized to those who had family members that were missing trying to get to our location but he said he needed to protect everyone in that room. Men Bolted the doors down and covered the windows. We were sitting ducks. Workers walked around giving us water bottles. We were just waiting. Waiting for the unknown. Just waiting for this place to be shot up or things to be better. We were safe in the moment but didn’t know if we were going to continue to be safe.. we waited and waited they finally announced one shooter down. We didn’t know how many shooters there were. Rumors said 5, 2, 4, one in every hotel. We were at cocos just waiting. I had a fully charged mophie on me. I was passing it around to people who’s phones were dead. I was with my family… I didn’t need a cell phone. They all had fully charged one. We sat around till 2 am until we decide to leave and run to the airport where my dad got in contact with the off duty cab driver who drove my sister to safety. He picked us up at the airport and we were drove to a friends house it was close to 3am where many hug kisses and tears where exchanged when all of my family members were together safe and uninjured. I can not thank Andrew that off duty cab drive enough for that moment of safety. So thankful for friends like Becca, Sydney, & Marissa who took in 9 people in their 3 bedroom apartment.
More moments cross my mind how I’m so lucky. We ran about 10 miles total. I normally wear heels to concerts. Instead I work short booties. I wore my favorite long skirt that got caught on everything… never did I think we should wear things that we can function in case of an emergency. I don’t understand. Why me. Why did I get a 2nd chance at life. As 59 others didnt. Why did my family walk away out of harms way. How did this happen I’m so grateful for our family. Yet so so sad for others and their lost. Every sound makes you jump. I can’t eat can’t sleep. Talking about this helps so much. I pray every night to God to comfort those families and mine own. Our minds & souls. Poor Jason Aldean who’s being blamed for not announcing it on the mic. Honestly if he did I feel that there would of been way more chaos. Everyone did best with what they could. No one could of know there was a shooter at the hotel. Everyone walks through with luggage everyday it’s sad and disheartening. I pray for everyone who’ve lost their lives and are fighting to live.
Thank you for reading. It’s helped me to write my emotions down realizing how serious this all is and knowing me and my family were apart of the biggest mass shooting in American History. Me and my family are trying to heal from this which will take a lot of time. When I say my family that includes blood relatives & my nashville family that I’ve been so blessed to know. Countless performers & crews I’ve met who are just genuinely amazing and good people. I know this is hard for them. Losing fans and all the sudden their jobs and dreams becoming so deadly and have a fear to be on the road now. How do we move on from this? I don’t personally know the answer to to that question. I don’t think anyone does. All I know is we can’t live in fear. Me even typing those words make my stomach drop because I am in fear. A fear for friends and their family members to be playing on the road. A fear for my own safety and family’s safety every where we go. I now suffer with major anxiety 24/7, I can’t eat, I can’t sleep. I hear shots and screams that aren’t even there. I never want to drink to much going out cause now I feel like I always need to have my mind fully present every where I go. My life is changed. It’s changed forever. Then I feel guilty. I’m so blessed to have lived to just live in this bubble of fear. That makes the terrorist win. We have to live life to the fullest even if that seems impossible. Trying to look at this all that We are not victims but we are, I am a survivor. I’m going to survive and live life for those who lost theirs that horrible night.
I may have a lot of typos or sentences that don’t make sense & bare with me. But do me & yourself just one favor after you read this hug your loved ones very tight. You really never know when it’s your last day. Walking into my house Monday was an eye opener. Leaving for Vegas Thursday night it never crossed my mind I could never come home. Truley am bless my guardian angels were present that night along side God.
Much love & God blessed ,