The massacre that happened in Las Vegas at the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival was the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. A gunman opened fire on 22,000 people attending the concert, killing 59, injuring over 500, and traumatizing millions across our nation.
In the midst of this tragedy uplifting stories are emerging - strangers helping strangers; people saving other people’s lives as they risked their own to protect loved ones and strangers alike. Many heroes used their own bodies as shields to protect the people around them. Las Vegas officials stated that many more lives would have been lost if it hadn’t been for these selfless civilians and the courageous first responders.
One man's story has emerged, however, from the impressive list of good deeds and selfless acts. Jonathan Smith, a father of three, saved 30 people’s lives that horrific night. Smith was enjoying a night of fun and family at the Route 91 Festival when he heard what sounded like gunfire. “You could hear the shots,” he said. “It sounded like it was coming from all over Las Vegas Boulevard.” He told his family to run and then headed back into the crowd to find his nieces who were separated from the family. “I got a few people out of there,” he said. “I decided I’m not gonna leave anybody behind.”
Because of his bravery, and his will to help, he himself was shot in the neck “I couldn’t feel anything in my neck,” he said. “There was a warm sensation in my arm. I might have to live with this bullet for the rest of my life.”
A tweet went out about Jonathan and his heroic acts, “Jonathan Smith, 30, saved ~30 people last night before he was shot in the neck,” the caption on the photo from Washington Post reporter Heather Long reads. “He might live w/the bullet for rest of his life.” This photo has been retweeted over 140,000 times and liked 360,000 times and counting. Smith doesn’t see himself as a hero, though. He said, “I don’t see myself that way.” He continued, “I would want someone to do the same for me. No one deserves to lose a life coming to a country festival.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help cover Smith’s medical bills and to help take care of his family while he recovers. Regardless of what Smith thinks, he is a hero and did what I hope all of us would have done, had we been in that situation. What an amazing guy. Las Vegas is strong, and its residents have shown tremendous fortitude in a time of tragedy. We are uplifted by the many stories coming out about the bravery demonstrated by countless men and women during this horrendous time of terror. Hats off to you, Mr. Smith.
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