Resident recounts harrowing experience in Las Vegas
P.A. woman recounts escape from scene of Las Vegas carnage
A Prince Albert woman visiting Las Vegas last weekend said she was “full of fear” as she ran to escape the deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history.
Shaye Deschambeault was at the Route 91 Harvest Festival on Sunday, the night Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crowd full of people. She described a confused scene where no one knew where to run to escape the “terrifying” sound of gunfire.
“We didn’t know the shooting was coming from above,” she said. “We thought someone was running around in the venue.
“I had no clue. My body was just full of fear. Honestly it just feels blurry right now.”
Deschambeault lost track of her sister as Jason Aldean was playing his set. So she was all alone when the shooting broke out.
“I was just enjoying the music, watching him play, and all of a sudden that’s when we heard the shooting,” she said. “No one knew what was going on.”
She said “froze” at first. Some people in the audience thought the noise might be coming from firecrackers, she remembered. But she said she knew something was wrong when she saw Aldean rush off the stage. She watched others drop to the ground, and decided to follow their lead. The gunfire, she said, felt almost “continuous” – punctuated by short pauses.
“It would go on for a couple seconds at a time,” she said. “Everyone would drop, and then once it would stop we’d all get up and run, and then we’d hear it again and we’d just fall to the ground again.”
That pattern went on over and over. Deschambeault said it felt like the shooting went on for 15 minutes. She said she was confused and terrified. She didn’t know if there might be multiple shooters in every direction.
“The bullets were so loud,” she said. “I had no idea if it was close or far or if it was just echoing, but it sounded like it was right next to us.”
One thought kept flashing through her mind.
“All I could think about was where is my sister?”
She escaped from the concert venue and tried to find a safe place to hide. “I didn’t even look back,” she said. She saw police officers “flooding the streets.” As she went through the back doors of a hotel, she thought maybe she’d found shelter. But then she saw something that made her think twice.
“There were like blood drops all over the hallway,” she said. “People stopped in their shoes and turned right back around… and kept running.”
Eventually Deschambeault found her way back to her hotel. Right away, she called her mom. She learned that her sister was safely stowed away in another hotel.
The trauma of that experience has left Deschambeault “shaken.” The fear followed her and her sisters all the way back to Canada.
“When I was still in Vegas, the day after it happened, we were really on edge and scared to be in crowds,” she said. “The loud noises were making us really anxious.
“Now that I’m home I feel so safe here with my family.”
Deschambeault just made it back to Prince Albert on Tuesday. Her family members broke down in tears when they were reunited.
“They just all cried,” she said. “They were relieved that we all made it home because I know some people didn’t get to make it home.”
The experience, it seems, was a lesson in the fragility of life. She’s not sure if it’s made her a different person – but she finds herself thinking about the big picture.
“I do feel I want to appreciate my life more, because it could have been me… I’m just grateful that I made it home.”
A scene from a video Deschambeault took of the scene, just after the shooting began.