'It was mayhem:' Ferndale man describes surviving Las Vegas massacre

Theodore Land reports

A Ferndale, Wash., couple was at the scene of Sunday night's shooting in Las Vegas that killed more than 50 people and sent more than 500 people to the hospital. It's the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

"I helped people who didn't make it so it's not good," Jeff Bannerman said not long after the shooting happened. He was there with his wife, Deanna.

Bannerman said he was about 60 feet from the stage where country singer Jason Aldean was performing, between the stage and the Mandalay Bay Resort. Police say the suspected shooter was firing from a window on the 32nd floor.

Bannerman, who says he is a gun owner who hunts, estimated there were 100 to 150 rounds fired in the initial burst of shots.

"It sounded like firecrackers going off. It was one right after the other," Bannerman said.

He said when the performers left the stage, people started to take what was happening more seriously.

"And now it's mayhem. People are running and screaming, looking for places to hide because were out in a big, open area," Bannerman said.

Bannerman and his wife were near some bleachers and took cover beneath them and hid for about five minutes.

"Somebody crawled underneath there who had been shot and was bleeding right beside me," Bannerman said. That's when he was told it was time to get out of there. As they were trying to get away, Bannerman said some people on the ground, including a woman who was bleeding.

"I started giving her CPR and trying to help her and somebody comes up to me and says, 'Dude. She's gone. Get out of here,' Bannerman said, choking up. "And so I had to just leave her there and it was hard."

Bannerman said some people thought it was fake and part of the performance.

"There was a policeman on scene, and he was telling people to cover in place and try to find cover and then this one idiot, he's saying 'Nah, don't worry about it. It's fake. It's coming across the sound system.' And it wasn't fake," Bannerman said. "And so people started to understand it was real because there was blood and.... it was mayhem."

Bannerman then started choking up again as he said he covered up his wife to protect her until they could get away.

"I laid on top of her, and she got out. She's safe," Bannerman said. "We called our kids from underneath the bleachers. Told them we loved them."

Bannerman said his wife feared she was going to die, then said goodbye.

"And then she said 'Jeff, I love you' and that was it. And we just got out and ran," said Bannerman.

He said his wife was upset that he stopped to help other people.

"I couldn't just run by them," Bannerman said, sobbing, "They needed help."

The Bannermans made their way to the MGM Grand, and Jeff said the shooting was still going on as they were doing so. Bannerman estimated the shooting went on for 20-25 minutes.

Bannerman also said he collected cell phones of people who were shot and has been answering calls from their loved ones who are trying to find the victims.

© 2017 KING-TV


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