A Rogue Valley family was among those who were evacuated Sunday night from the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino where a shooter firing on an outdoor concert in Las Vegas killed more than 50 people and injured hundreds. An acquaintance of the family is among the wounded.
Cheryl Dyer, a Medford financial planner and sister of Jackson County Commissioner Rick Dyer, had just arrived at the hotel when she and her husband, financial planner Bruce Garetto, heard an unusual noise they later learned was gunfire. The couple went to Las Vegas to celebrate birthdays with other family members and were at Mandalay Bay to attend an after-party for the concert.
The couple walked into the hotel and were standing in line to get into an elevator, Garetto said in a Monday interview by phone from Las Vegas.
"While we were in line, we saw probably six or seven SWAT-type police come running through with assault-type rifles. It was like, 'What's going on?' A person from the hotel said there was an active shooter and to leave the hotel," Garetto said.
The family went outside to where Uber cars were waiting.
"An Uber driver said, 'We need to get out of here!' " Dyer said.
As they drove away, Garetto said, first responders were converging on Mandalay Bay.
"More police and emergency vehicles came than I've ever seen," he said.
The driver took them to their hotel several miles away. Watching preliminary news reports Sunday night, they didn't know the extent of the carnage. They woke up Monday to news of more than 50 dead and hundreds injured.
Cheryl Dyer said they learned that an acquaintance who doesn't live in the Rogue Valley had been shot and injured at the country music concert targeted by the shooter.
"She's alive. She's in surgery," Dyer said Monday morning.
On Sunday night, SWAT units swarmed Mandalay Bay, where they discovered the dead gunman on the 32nd floor with 17 weapons. Police believe suspected gunman Stephen Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nevada, killed himself.
By late Monday afternoon, the death toll had risen to 59, with 527 reported injured, according to Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo. He also said that several pounds of ammonium nitrate, a material used to make explosives, was found in Paddock's car.
"It was awfully close to have been in Mandalay Bay while the whole thing was going on," Dyer said. "You see this kind of thing on the news. It was really surreal because we were in the hotel hearing the gunshots. When you see these horrible tragedies, it's always too close for comfort, but to be right there, it was very, very surreal."
Dyer said people in Las Vegas are talking about the incident and are distraught. She said family members have reached out to make sure she and her family are alright. Meanwhile, she is thinking about the victims.
"Prayers and prayers and prayers to those people who were gunned down for no reason," she said.
— Reach staff reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her at www.twitter.com/VickieAldous.