Fear spread as fast as the acrid gunsmoke that drifted through the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on Sunday night as hotel guests realized they were part of the deadliest mass shooting in American history.
Using a collection of weapons in his 32nd floor hotel room, police said gunman Stephen Paddock, 64, sprayed a crowd of more than 22,000 people at a country music festival. At least 50 people were killed. Officials reported that at least 400 people were taken to hospitals.
“I think (the shooter) was on my floor,” said Brad Baker, 38, of Austin, Texas. “When (police) came into my room, I was totally out — I thought I was in trouble!”
“They yelled at me like, ‘Get some clothes on.’ I got my shirt on but I left my phone, my wallet. When I came out of my room, they were telling us to run. I saw all the cops with guns. It was crazy,” he added.
“I saw them run up the stairs — there were maybe like six (police) on our floor. I was on the 32nd floor — they’re saying the guy was like four rooms down from me, Baker said.
One witness, who asked not to be named, said he was next to Paddock’s room, the U.K. Daily Mail reported.
“I was in room 135 and I heard over the police scanner that the shooting came from room 137,” he said.
“It was non-stop, I would say well over 100 rounds. We hit the floor and took cover. I called the front desk and she was remarkably calm and said she was aware of the situation and told us to stay in our room,” he added.
“After around 10-15 minutes it just kind of stopped. You could smell the gun powder. Right before we got out I heard an explosion, maybe a flashbang, but windows were blown out,” the witness said. “The cops came on to the floor and they were clearing rooms room by room and six or seven cops came into our room and we were evacuated,.”
Fear in the hotel was more than matched by the panic outside, where people at the concert fled for their lives.
“The headliner was performing and maybe on the third song. We heard what we thought was fireworks,” posted Kat Phifer, who was working as a barmaid at the Route 91 Harvest Festival.
“We all looked towards where it was coming from, Mandalay Bay. I saw gun fire and everyone immediately fell to the floor. Machine gun. It was me and three other people hiding behind the bar that I was working at. We were freaked out and didn’t know what to do and also in clear view of the shooter,” she wrote on Facebook.
“So we decided to crawl/run to another bar. Hid under a bar. Four of us girls. Hyperventilating. Scared for our lives. Gunshots kept coming closer and closer and we were all trying to keep quiet,” she added.
Phifer continued, “Five seconds paused, then another round of shots. Closer and closer. I was scared for my life. I was waiting for the bullets to hit us. Finally, the cops are yelling for us to run and leave. I run and lose all the girls I was with. While I’m running I see about five to seven people on the floor bleeding with people huddling around them. It was a massacre. I’m running for my life hoping not to get shot.”