By Kyeland Jackson —
Chrisanna Roberts, 26, woke her mom late on Oct. 1 to tell her what happened: Roberts was at a country music concert. A gunman had shot hundreds of bullets into a crowd with her in it. People running next to her fell, struck by bullets. But Roberts, a cardiovascular ICU nurse and U of L graduate, was okay.
A Louisville-native, Roberts graduated from U of L in 2015 before moving to Prescott, Arizona for work. She and four friends left for the country music concerts in Las Vegas with her cowboy boots in tow. When the shooting started, they mistook the first two pops for firecrackers.
Then, the pops turned from a few into hundreds. She ran.
“It was pure, sheer terror,” Roberts said. “As we’re running towards the exit, there’s people laying on the ground that have been shot. There’s people running right beside me who get shot (and) fall down. There’s lots of screaming, lots of blood. Everyone was just in a panic … I was just waiting to get shot. I was no different than anybody else there that night.”
Roberts was separated from her friends, eventually taking cover on the floor of a diner. There, she sent a text message to her family reading, “if I die, I love you.”
Minutes later she reunited with her friends. None of them were injured.
After the gunshots, running, false reports and hiding, Roberts and her friends returned to their motel.
Looking back, Roberts says she was lucky to leave without injury. She was impressed by paramedics and first-responders helping people, and will go back to her nursing job within days. She doesn’t have many tips for those involved in a shooting scenario, but she advises people to trust their gut.
“I hope that no-one else is ever in a situation like this because it was horrific,” Roberts said. “You watch the news, you see things like this happen to people (in) other places of the world at other times and you think ‘oh my god, that’s terrible.’ But then when you’re in the situation, it almost seems surreal for a moment.”
Stephen Paddock, 64, was identified as the shooter. Paddock shot from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, armed with automatic rifles and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.
Paddock’s act killed 59 people and injured more than 500. So far, the act is the worst mass-shooting incident in U.S. history.
The last mass shooting claiming that title was at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. In that shooting, 49 people died.
Photo Credit John Locher / The Associated Press
Note: The woman featured in the photo of this article is not Chrisanna Roberts.