Las Vegas shooting survivors talk about trauma along with flashbacks

David Bugenske (centre) with two police officers at Harvest 91 before the shootingImage copyright
David Bugenske

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David Bugenske poses with two police officers before the shooting at Route 91

the idea’s over a month since 58 people were killed along with more than 500 injured by gunman Stephen Paddock at a concert in Las Vegas inside the deadliest mass shooting in US modern history.

Three survivors tell the BBC how they are coping inside the aftermath of the attack.


‘I’ve never hugged so much’

David Bugenske, a radio presenter in Los Angeles, was at the Route 91 concert with his girlfriend. He’s spent the month since the shooting meeting some other survivors.

“At first we didn’t believe the idea was gunfire although when I saw the singer go off stage, I looked at my girlfriend along with said, ‘Run’.

“She laughed, thinking I was over-reacting – people around us were still dancing.

“I ran to a fence backstage. People started out going through barbed wire. One friend kicked the idea down.

“A girl next to us got shot. A guy next to us got shot.

“I called my Mum in which night. There are about 10 minutes in which I can’t remember anymore – she said I told her there were bodies everywhere. although I don’t remember seeing any of in which.

“For the first two days I drank. I didn’t want to deal with the idea. I kept hearing gunshots along with having flashbacks.

“I went to a concert three days later along with I realised in which going out along with talking to people who were also at Route 91 in which night was therapeutic.

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David Bugenske

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David Bugenske (front) hugs a friend

“in which’s how talking about in which night makes me feel – each time, the idea feels less raw.

“the idea was a horrific experience, although in an odd way, I’m thankful to experience the after-effects – you see the best of humanity after a disaster.

“My lowest moment was last weekend – I went to a memorial for one of the victims, the idea’s just so sad to see the families of these people who died.

“Since the shootings, I’ve become a better listener along with certainly more compassionate… I’ve never hugged more grown men in my life than inside the past month.

“The conspiracy theories don’t make me angry – I certainly don’t know all the facts. although the idea certainly wasn’t fake.

“I’m impressed with how many people are willing to go back out to concerts. The country scene is usually a tight community.

“One psycho can’t dictate how a bunch of people live their lives.”


‘Dried blood on my watch’

Russell Bleck filmed on his mobile phone people running round in panic as gunshots rang out around them. He was at the concert with his girlfriend Bre.

“I was closest to the shooter’s position along with had the hardest route to get out.

“The exits faced the shooter, the fencing was too tall along with had too much signage to be able to climb. I ran into the crowd to find Bre.

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Media captionVideo shot by Russell was used in This specific montage at the time

“In those several minutes I witnessed along with experienced things I will never talk about. I have nightmares every night, at least several a night – I haven’t had a full night sleep since.

“I led a group of 20 out – moving through cover to cover while the shooter reloaded.

“the idea was 10 minutes of hell. No exits in sight along with we were fighting through crowds of tens of thousands as people just dropped around me. Literally fish in a barrel.

“Last week, I finally went down to the memorial at the Las Vegas sign. in which was rough – if you are a survivor or victim I highly suggest not going. I had to leave because I became so angry.

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Reuters

“Unless you were there, you might never understand the chaos along with carnage we experienced.

Soon after the tragedy, conspiracy theorists accused survivors of being actors in a staged event.

Asked about in which, Russell said: “I just found dried blood on my watch. I don’t want to hear the idea!

After weeks of disturbed sleep, Russell said he decided to deal with the nightmares he was experiencing by facing his fears head on.

“I thought I could never attend a concert again although couldn’t say no to seeing Beatles legend Ringo Starr along with his All-Star Band on Friday.

“I completely broke down multiple times. the idea’s amazing how music can touch along with heal the soul.

“I went to bed so happy in which for initially since the shooting, I didn’t have a nightmare. I finally got a full night’s rest.”


‘the idea’s unbearable’

Crystal Huber through Long Beach, California, was using a group of family along with friends at the festival.

As they escaped through the area, they helped three victims to get medical help along with ferried a large number of people away through the scene in a truck.

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Crystal Huber

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Crystal Huber (right) with family along with friends at Route 91

The day after the attack she said she was “baffled” at the growing conspiracy theories about the tragedy along with wrote on Facebook:

“Let me explain something for people who clearly don’t get the idea, last night was complete along with utter chaos to say the least… most of us didn’t fully know what was going on until hours later when the police confirmed what was true along with what was not. This specific is usually what happens when you’re in a state of shock along with panic along with you’re running scared for your life.

“So just stop already with the conspiracy ideas… have some respect for people who experienced This specific in real life along with not just in social media!”

A week on through the shooting she posted a Facebook message which read: “Today was harder than others! I think something inside of all of us broke all over again tonight at 22:05. The anxiety leading up to the idea was insane. So many lives were changed by This specific time last week, the idea’s unbearable.”

Since then she’s been trying to get life back to normal for herself along with her young daughter, adding: “I’ve been keeping busy at work although the idea’s still been hard for us all emotionally. We have been working through the idea day by day though.”

Where you can find help along with support:

Mental Health America

National Alliance on Mental Illness

Mind, the mental health charity

By Georgina Rannard, UGC & Social News

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