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Vegas mass shooting: Tucsonans tell their survival stories

Posted at 9:15 PM, Oct 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-03 00:15:25-04

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) -  A lot of Tucsonans were caught up in the shooting in Vegas.  We heard their survival stories as they returned through Tucson International Airport.

Like many people at the shooting scene, K.C. Hardy thought the first gunshots were something more innocent.  

“At first we just heard like, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop and everyone's like, are there firecrackers or fireworks but there was no flash but it might have been echoing off the building and then the band kept playing because we were off to the side a little bit the big round went off.  Bap, bap, bap, bap, bap, bap bap!.  That's when people started falling and going down and running so everybody knew.”

He and his wife decided it was better to take cover than to run. 

"At first it was a stampede and I didn't want to get caught because lots of times that's when people get hurt and then you don't know are they shooting from where everybody's running.  We just took cover because I don't want to run, if you don't know where the shooter's at where you gonna run to? You could be going right where they're at."

 "She got down into the seat and I got on top of her because we didn't know where the shots were coming from.  We didn't know which way they were coming from, so.  They it paused.  They it went off again. Then we could see because I was able to peek up because I wanted to see if the shooter was in the building because I didn't know.  That's when I saw groups of people, laying dead."

“Finally after, it felt like an hour, something like ten minutes or so the shooting stopped so then we got up, I got her up from under the seats and we took off along the barricade and made out way out. That's when we saw a lot of people who were hurt, shot, bleeding."

Blake Katterman remembers hearing the first shots.

“Next thing I know.  Girl standing a foot to my left shot in the head.  Went down. She's gone. Everyone hit the deck.  Then from there it was mass panic. Got out of there.  It was tough.  We ran over a lot of dead bodies, honestly."
He had to survive another danger--the crush of thousands of people running for their lives.

"I guess I got hit with a ricochet in my back from one of the bullets.  I got a pretty good bruise back there and everything like that.  Yeah, it was very scary."
Carol Smith felt the fright without leaving Tucson.  She knew her daughter was at that concert. She called as she was running to the hotel.

"And my first inclination was to just go get her.  It's been a rough night waiting, and making sure that the plane was gonna come in and they were gonna be on the plane and it was gonna be on time and she'd come safe.”  

KGUN9 reporter Craig Smith said: “It sounds like there's still more to do.” 

Carol Smith: “Oh, yes.  I think it's gonna take a long time a lot of processing and you know they're young and they've never been through anything like that and never had to really process anything like that so I think we've got a long road ahead of us."