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'People went screaming toward the exit': Vancouver woman describes panic on the Las Vegas Strip

Last Updated Oct 2, 2017 at 8:50 am PDT

Police officers stand at the scene of a shooting near the Mandalay Bay resort and casino on the Las Vegas Strip, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, in Las Vegas. Multiple victims were being transported to hospitals after a shooting late Sunday at a music festival on the Las Vegas Strip (AP Photo/John Locher)
Summary

Jenni Watson called NEWS 1130 shortly after a mass shooting in Vegas, while hiding in a cupboard in a hotel lobby

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Jenni Watson from Vancouver is staying in the Excalibur Hotel one block away from the Mandalay Bay — she called NEWS 1130 shortly after the shooting on the Las Vegas Strip last night while hiding in a cupboard in the lobby.

“People are just freaking out and went screaming toward the exit. Security is everywhere and we’d heard [rumour the shooter] was in here and then all of a sudden people started running like crazy,” she told NEWS 1130 from her hiding place.

“We wanted to go up to our rooms but they don’t require a key to go up the elevator so you are almost a sitting duck going up to your room. We just have no idea where to go.”

Watson says when the hotel next to Excalibur was locked down, people started flocking to her hotel and word — and panic — spread quickly through the casino. “People started talking about the shooting and then security started going crazy and people started shrieking and running out the doors here.”

That’s when Watson decided to take cover.

“People are hiding behind pillars and they’re crying, all kinds of stuff is going on. We decided that rather than going up to our room in the elevator where we didn’t feel like we could be secure, we decided to hide behind a counter and they had some cupboards,” she explained.

“The crazy thing is our dealer wanted us to finish playing our hand! We just grabbed our money and ran.”

LISTEN: Jenni Watson speaks with NEWS 1130’s Peter Wagner from Las Vegas, following the mass shooting at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino

A gunman on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino opened fire down on an outdoor country music festival below, killing at least 58 people and injuring more than 500. It was the worst mass shooting in modern US history.

It happened during country music star Jason Aldean’s performance at the end of the three-day Route 91 Harvest Festival. The gunman died at the scene and was later identified as Stephen Paddock.


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Eventually, Watson made here way back to her room after hotel security told guests to return to their rooms and called NEWS 1130 a second time.

“We’ve looked around at different places we can hide and there’s not a lot of places you can hide in a hotel room,” she chuckled nervously.

“We’ve kept the TV off and are keeping it quiet in our room trying to make as little noise as possible, constantly looking out the window. You can’t believe the number of emergency vehicles that have gone by — ambulance after ambulance and police cars are everywhere. There are blue and red lights flashing everywhere, it’s quite something to look at. We have a 180-degree view out our window and seem to be right in the middle of it all,” she explained.

Watson says she’s never had a more crowded elevator ride in her life as guests crammed in, trying to make it to the safety of their rooms.

LISTEN: Jenni Watson calls NEWS 1130 a second time, from her hotel room