A QUEENSLAND man on holiday with a group of friends in Las Vegas has spoken about the terrifying moment he realised the hotel he was gaming in was at the centre of a bloody attack.
Pat Shaw of Tamborine, south of Brisbane, said he and his five mates, who are in the US to attend a drag racing event, were playing roulette at the Mandalay Bay casino when a stream of people started running past their table, including police officers and members of the SWAT team.
Mr Shaw told The Courier-Mail that he had heard the gunshots but hadn’t realised exactly what the sound was until he saw police enter the room.
“We heard it but didn’t realise (what the noise was) until all the SWAT ran past with their shields,” he said.
“As it happened we heard the staff and security say they think there is a shooter out the front and then (they said) it was up on a high level, shooting down at the Route 91 music festival.”
Mr Shaw said everyone was ordered out of the gaming area and into a secure lockdown zone where they remained for several hours.
At one point the group watched as eight police vehicles suddenly arrived in the lockdown area and medics rushed into the Mandalay Bay.
Later, after police announced that a gunman had been shot and killed by authorities, Mr Shaw and his friends were told they were able to leave the lockdown zone and return to their own hotel.
A former Gympie woman was also at the scene, The Gympie Times reports.
Jessica Nelson was partying with friends at Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas when she heard the volley of rifle fire.
“We heard two popping sounds that sounded like fireworks,” Mrs Nelson told Sunshine Coast Mix FM.
“We then heard another lot of single shots.
“I looked at my friend Justin and the colour just drained from his face.
“He just screamed and I froze.
“Thankfully we were near an exit.”
She said the scene was horrific.
“The automatic rounds just started,” Mrs Nelson said.
“People were falling all around us. You wanted to get out of there as quickly as you could.
“Your first instinct is to just get out of sight.
“It was complete chaos.”
Another Australian man staying at the Mandalay Bay Resort has spoken about his close call with the Las Vegas gunman – claiming he launched his murderous attack from the room next door.
Australian Brian Hodge, who previously worked at Jupiters Casino on the Gold Coast, claimed he was staying in the room next to the shooter on level 32 at the Las Vegas resort.
He said he managed to escape the initial horrific scenes inside the hotel but found himself forced to hide in a bush for several hours after the event.
“I got outside safely and was hiding in bushes,” Mr Hodge said.
“There were multiple people dead and multiple shooters. I was just hiding waiting for police to come get us.
“We were hiding in the bushes outside waiting for the police.” Mr Hodge said he was staying in room 32134 while the gunman was in room 32135.
“It was a machine gun from the room next to me,” he said.
“My floor is a crime scene. They killed a security guard on my floor.”
Surfers Paradise Ultra Lounge bar co-owner Nathan Claridge, a globetrotting MC for the Vegas-based Thunder from Down Under male revue, posted video from the near the scene soon after the shooting started.
The 32-year-old had just left work from a nearby hotel when he came across people diving for cover and running from away from what sounded like machine gun fire which could be heard in the background.
Mr Claridge, who said he shot video of the pandemonium from a car he was a passenger in, said initially it was difficult to pinpoint where the gunfire was.
He can be heard in the video saying: “Yo, what’s doing up there? Yo, where is that coming from?
“What the f..k?”
A voice can then be heard saying: “Holy s..t…gunfire down there…f..k.”
Mr Claridge posted the video to Facebook with the status saying: “Stay off the (Vegas) strip – leaving work in Vegas, multiple shooters up near Mandalay Bay at country music festival.”
Speaking to the Gold Coast Bulletin after getting safely back to his accommodation several miles away, he said: “I have never been involved in something like that before. It was nuts.
“It was surreal, it was like ‘Is this really happening?’.”
He and colleague Benny Cleary, of the Sunshine Coast, who was driving the car asked people if they needed help – and people shouted back at them to turn around and “just get out of there”.
Another Gold Coast woman and local business owner Jessica Winters said she and her partner Peter Tutton were locked out the back of the MGM Grand nearby after being evacuated from an internal restaurant twice.
Wendy Miller from Cooroy, on the Sunshine Coast, was also caught up in the attack.
She was at a bar in the nearby Luxor Hotel with her husband when she saw what she described as a “man of interest” run by.
“We managed to make our way back to our room…” she told The Courier-Mail.
“We are in lock down.
“Our door is dead locked and a chair against the door.”
Ms Miller said the man sprinted through her hotel after coming off an escalator from the Mandalay Bay.
“The man that they [security] were chasing was wearing a security jacket like them,” she said.
Additional reporting Ryan Keen, Sally Coates