November 23, 2020

Mississippi couple survives Las Vegas shooting 

A Bogue Chitto, Mississippi, couple ran for their lives Sunday night at a Las Vegas concert as bullets rained down on the crowd, barely slowing as strangers were shot and killed in their path.“The whole time I was running I was praying,” said Haley King, 30. “God was with us. People beside us were getting killed.”

King and her husband, Jonathan, 31,  were in Las Vegas for the first time. They went a day early to see the sights and then attend the three-day Route 91 Harvest Festival. Country music star Jason Aldean was performing at the end of the festival when a gunman identified as Stephen Paddock, 64, opened fire across the street from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino.

SWAT teams quickly descended on the concert and the casino, and officers used explosives to get into the hotel room where the suspect was inside, authorities said. Paddock died at the scene.

More than 50 people were killed and more than 500 wounded as tens of thousands of frantic concert-goers screamed and ran for their lives, officials said Monday.

It was one of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

The Kings were at the show with another couple and two female friends, all standing near the stage, Haley King said Monday afternoon soon after arriving at the New Orleans airport.

King said she heard a popping noise during the show and thought it was fireworks at one of the casinos.

“I really couldn’t tell what it was. It didn’t last long,” she said. “The second time we heard it, it just never stopped. Everybody just dropped to the ground.”

There was another pause in the shooting and they grabbed hands and started running.

“We were trying to get as far away as we could. We just ran,” she said.

The couple with them got separated from the other four.

“It was so loud. We thought they were also in there with us shooting so we tried to run to the closest building we could find and try to hide,” she said. “We all tried to hold on to each other and make our way out of there.”

One of the two women also got lost in the crowd but later made it back to the hotel.

King saw people fall as they ran.

“We saw a few people that had been shot. Some that had died. They were constantly being shot right in front of us while we were running,” she said.

King thought about her children, who are 2 and 4, and prayed.

They made it to a bus and were taken to a hotel. They’d made friends with some women from California at the concert who let them stay with them the rest of the night. When they knew they were in a safe place they called their parents.

No one slept.

King said she and her husband are still in shock by what happened. They’ve pieced together parts of it, but it seems so unreal.

“You just don’t think it will happen to you,” she said.

She said she is thankful for the text and Facebook messages from friends and family in Lincoln County.

King posted on Facebook that her group was back together and safe at the hotel at about 6 a.m.

Her husband, Jonathan King, posted a thanks to everyone who prayed for them.

“Definitely had a closer call than we would like to think about but everyone that was with us is ok,” he wrote on Facebook.

Read more: ‘God was with us’: Bogue Chitto couple survives Las Vegas shooting | Daily Leader