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SDSU students in Las Vegas react to mass shooting

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by Will Fritz, News Editor

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At least 59 people were killed and over 500 were injured in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history at a concert in Las Vegas the night of Oct. 1.

The violence touched people from all across the country, including some San Diego State students.

Marketing sophomore Beth Bushey was at the Route 91 Harvest Festival with friends and family when the gunfire began.

She said Jason Aldean had just begun his performance a couple minutes before when she heard a noise.

“It just sounded kind of like firecrackers,” Bushey said.

After a few seconds, she said the sound went away, and she didn’t think much of it.

Then it started again.

“It was just kind of a series of pops,” Bushey said. “Nobody was really doing anything, but I saw the drummer run off stage as fast as he could, and that’s when I grabbed my friend by the arm and we started running.”

She said the next moments were a blur, but she and her friend ended up finding her parents before escaping to a nearby motel with a group of people. At that point, she said she lost track of her father, but later found out he had stopped to help someone who had been injured.

“My dad took off his shirt and  tried to make a tourniquet or something to stop the bleeding,” she said.

Bushey said one of the people in the group she was with tried to let everyone into their motel room, but their key card wasn’t working. Eventually, a couple staying in the motel took the group into their room.

“We all just kind of sat there and waited until we could find out anything, texting and calling everyone we know, telling them what happened, telling them that we were safe and we were OK,” she said.

Liberal studies senior Erica Housh was not at the concert, but was staying at the MGM Grand hotel nearby at the time of the shooting.

“I had a view of all the people who were leaving the concert, and the chaos that happened afterwards,” Housh said.

She said she was getting ready to go out with her cousins when she noticed police cars on the street.

“All of a sudden, out of our window, we see literally hundreds of people screaming and running away,” Housh said. “I didn’t know what was going on. I was scared.”

Senior Dominique Regalado was also at the Route 91 concert. She said when she heard the gunshots, she thought they were fireworks.

“I’ve been to (Aldean’s) concerts multiple times before and he has a lot of background sounds and everything,” she said. “It was (my sister and I) together, and we looked into the sky and there were no fireworks, and we thought, ‘Oh, that’s strange.’”

Just as with Bushey, Regalado said people began realizing what was going on once the second round of gunfire began.

“All of a sudden, you just hear screaming,” Regalado said. “And then I looked around and there were groups helping people, and I was so confused, and you see Jason run off the stage and the music just stops. And everyone was like, get down.”

There was still confusion, though, she said.

“I didn’t even know 100 percent if it was (gunfire) until the guy next to me had gotten shot,” Regalado said. “So at that point, it’s kind of fight or flight, you just decide you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”

She said she also was eventually able to flee to a hotel.

“My best friend was calling her mom, telling her ‘I love you if I don’t talk to you again,’” Regalado said. “It was at that point where you had to start saying that because you didn’t know.”

Both Regalado and Bushey said the shooting was a surreal experience, especially now that they’ve returned to school.

Bushey said she used to love fireworks. Now, the sound is ruined for her.

“I’m never going to want to hear that again,” she said. “I just heard a helicopter when I was in my class in the engineering building, and it kind of sounded like the automatic shooting, and I kind of got scared for a second.”

Regalado said the shooting has constantly been on her mind since returning from Las Vegas.

“I left school last Thursday thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, this is going to be the best weekend of my life,’” Regalado said. “It was for my birthday. And now it’s a memory that I don’t want to remember but always will.”

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