A Moose Jaw firefighter said it’s still sinking in that he and his wife escaped the Las Vegas shooting Sunday night with only a couple of scratches.
“There were people that were shot not even 10 feet away from us — we got lucky,” said Jae Unser.
Unser, his wife and a woman from Saskatoon were about 30 feet from the stage when the shooting began — just three songs into Jason Aldean’s concert. At first, Unser said it sounded like fireworks. But after the first shots were fired, he knew it was the tone of an automatic weapon.
“There (were) bullets ricocheting off the ground and off the grandstand,” he described.
As soon as shots were discharged, he said they all ducked down for cover. From there, he remembers running for shelter while he believes the shooter, Stephen Paddock, 64, stopped to reload. Eventually, the group took refuge in a Budweiser trailer until the rampage ended.
Just as he won’t soon forget the piercing sound of bullets, Unser said certain images will forever be imprinted in his mind.
“There were people all around us … you could see some people were shot in the leg and some were wounded,” he explained.
Despite still being in shock, the local first responder said he’s amazed at the courage of emergency crews and the kindness people showed strangers both during and after the massacre.
Looking back at Sunday night’s events, Unser said returning to the U.S. for a music festival isn’t on his and his wife’s to-do list anytime soon. He said the tragedy will surely have a lasting impact on both of them.
“It’s pretty unbelievable that you see stuff like this on the news, but you never think it’s going to affect you — until it does. Once it does, it’s a really hard thing to grasp,” said Unser. “It just doesn’t feel like it’s real.”
— With files from Murray Wood