Two locals tell their story of Las Vegas shooting first-hand
EUGENE, Ore. - A couple from Douglas County is back home tonight after attending the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas over the weekend, where they witnessed the massacre first hand.
It was a weekend that Spencer Wertz and Brandi Hamilton were looking forward to for a long time.
A night of music suddenly turned into a moment of confusion.
"We could see the big screen with Jason Aldean on it, so we were trying to hurry," said Brandi. "Then all of a sudden about his third song it, it was just, 'crack, crack, crack, crack,"
Spencer recognized the gun fire, and told Brandi and her cousin to get down.
"And then when it kind of calmed back down there, again there was a pause in the gun fire, we had a small little window to make it through," said Spencer.
That's when the three of them ran to an exit. Spencer says everyone was running towards Tropicana, but he says he learned to never follow the crowd.
Instead, they ran towards the Hooters Hotel.
"We ran towards the employee door and they were yelling 'Get in, Get in!" said Spencer.
Once inside, chaos ensued again.
"All of a sudden, someone came in screaming, 'He's in here, he's got a gun!"
The group waited in the hotel until the lockdown was lifted at 4 a.m.
It was an unimaginable night of terror, one that was eerily familiar for Spencer.
"I was a student at UCC on the October 1st shooting. So that's two October 1st shootings in two years that I've been involved with," said Spencer.
Spencer was minutes away from the UCC campus two years earlier.
"I remember my best friend calling me, telling me, 'Don't come, don't come.' Last night was a little too real for me," said Spencer.
Amidst the chaos in Las Vegas, the friends say some moments remain clear in their minds.
"People were covered in blood. The girl sitting next to us just a couple of people away was standing there with her dad and her sister and her dad was shot, and I don't think he made it," said Brandi. "Another gentleman next to us with somebody else's blood. People had come in and were trampled."
One thing stands out above the rest, though.
"The ability for everybody to come together was amazing. It was amazing to experience what people are willing to do because they saw a need," said Brandi.
Now, for Spencer, Brandi, and thousands more, it's a time to heal.
"To be able to come home and be grateful, it comes with guilt, you know," the two said. "You survived, they didn't. That's something I've already been through once, and I'm sure I'll go through it again."
Spencer says this incident motivates him even more to join a local sheriff's office and protect his community.
Brandi says she is grateful her cousin and her boyfriend are safe, and is grateful for everyone both in Las Vegas, and here in Lane and Douglas county who have stepped up to help in a time of need.