Res­i­dent re­counts har­row­ing ex­pe­ri­ence in Las Ve­gas

P.A. woman re­counts es­cape from scene of Las Ve­gas car­nage

Prince Albert Daily Herald - - FRONT PAGE - ARTHUR WHITE-CRUMMEY

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.”

PHOTO COUR­TESY SHAYE DESCHAM­BEAULT/DACEBOOK

A scene from a video Descham­beault took of the scene, just af­ter the shoot­ing be­gan.

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