Mum, son avoid hor­ror by a day

Deniliquin Pastoral Times - - NEWS - By JAMIE LOWE

When De­niliquin’s Deb­bie Gaz­zara snapped a photo of an iconic build­ing while on hol­i­day she would never have imag­ined that less than 24 hours later it would be the site of one of the most hor­rific mass shoot­ings in United States’ mod­ern his­tory.

Deb­bie and her 14 year-old son Zach Noo­nan were tour­ing the United States as part of ath­lete Zach’s two-week cross coun­try run­ning tour, which saw the pair stay in Las Ve­gas from Fri­day, Septem­ber 22 to Satur­day, Septem­ber 27.

The shoot­ing — which killed 58 peo­ple and in­jured an­other 489 — took place on Sun­day, Septem­ber 28.

Ac­cord­ing to au­thor­i­ties, the gun­man fired from the 32nd floor of the Man­dalay Bay Re­sort and Casino at peo­ple at a mu­sic fes­ti­val be­low.

When talk­ing to the Pas­toral Times on Wed­nes­day, Deb­bie said she could still hardly be­lieve what had hap­pened the day af­ter they de­parted a dream stay in Las Ve­gas.

‘‘My heart breaks for ev­ery­one who suf­fered,’’ Deb­bie said.

‘‘We drove past the day be­fore when they were set­ting up the fes­ti­val and I ac­tu­ally took a photo of the build­ing (Man­dalay Bay Re­sort) be­cause I thought it was so beau­ti­ful.

‘‘It’s quite eerie — where it hap­pened was right near an air­port and the wel­come to Las Ve­gas sign, so there would have been peo­ple ev­ery­where.

‘‘He (the gun­man) would’ve been stay­ing at the Man­dalay Re­sort the en­tire time we were there.

‘‘We were stay­ing pretty close to there and drove past the re­sort ev­ery day.

‘‘It’s very, very lucky we weren’t there the next day.’’

Af­ter leav­ing Las Ve­gas, Deb­bie and Zach trav­elled along the his­toric Route 66 to their next stop in Wil­liams, Ari­zona.

It wasn’t un­til a day or so af­ter the shoot­ing that she and Zach found out what had hap­pened.

‘‘We didn’t have much time to watch TV and had lim­ited ac­cess to the in­ter­net,’’ Deb­bie said.

‘‘One or two days af­ter the shoot­ing I con­nected to wi-fi and my Face­book page was full of mes­sages check­ing in on me to see if I was okay.

‘‘I asked one of the cross coun­try coaches what had hap­pened and that’s how I found out.

‘‘We were all a bit on edge af­ter find­ing out.’’

Deb­bie and Zach re­turned home to De­niliquin on Wed­nes­day last week.

While in the USA the mother and son also vis­ited Ana­heim, Cal­i­for­nia, where se­vere bush­fires broke out ear­lier this week.

‘‘It’s hard to be­lieve these dev­as­tat­ing things have hap­pened so soon af­ter we were there,’’ Deb­bie said.’’

Zach Noo­nan and his mum Deb­bie Gaz­zara pos­ing for a photo in front of the fa­mous Las Ve­gas sign, with the Man­dalay Bay Re­sort build­ing in the back­ground.

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