(Seguin) -- Seguin Deputy Police Chief Bruce Ure found himself last night in the middle of what is now the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
Ure, who "caught a piece of bullet shrapnel on his hand" during the massacre in Las Vegas shares his terrifying experience with the Seguin Daily News and Seguin Radio KWED. Although his injuries were minor, he was among the 500 injured and the now 58 confirmed dead.
Ure, was among the VIPs attending the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival featuring Country Star Jason Aldean. The outside concert was held near the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino where the suspected gunman reportedly fired at concert-goers from the 32nd floor of the Las Vegas hotel. Ure says the crowd was ambushed.
"I'm standing at the closest point at the festival to the Mandalay Bay and we heard these loud pops. There was a series of them. We turned to each other and said, 'was that fireworks?' I said 'I don't think it is,' but it didn't sound like any caliber riffle I had ever heard of. You just don't expect that. That wasn't the first thing you think of that somebody is shooting because there's 20 to 30,000 people here. Then all of a sudden, there was a barrage. It was like a stream of firecrackers going off. I still wasn't sure until I saw the ground and I saw the ground -- probably about 15 feet away from me and the dirt popping up. It reminded me of when we go out and do qualifications down at the firearm range, when it hits the dirt and that's when I knew that this was gunfire. So naturally you scream 'gun, everybody get down' because you didn't know where to run at this point. So we all hit the deck. In my area, there was probably a couple hundred people over there. It was the VIP section. So while I'm laying on the ground, I heard a whistle come right by and slam -- cut into the ground. My hand hurt. Apparently what it was was I just narrowly got missed being shot. The round fractured when it hit the ground and it cut my right hand," said Ure.
After realizing they couldn't stay still, he said people found more substantial coverage -- taking cover in between tour buses. He says while he knew bullets were flying full force, he didn't know where the gunfire was coming from.
"So at this point, we had all decided that there was a big group back there. I said look we're just sitting here, we don't know where this guy is and we're going to die if we don't get out. So this was the time to flee. So everybody starts taking off towards the opposite side of the festival. I remember there's 20 or 30,000 people over here. You can tell somebody is shooting at us, because when I got to the other side of the festival, I was on asphalt and I heard a round hit close to me. I thought the guy is still shooting. It dawned on me -- I knew somebody was up high, because there's no way that you would be able to get that type of coverage. So the area that we were running toward had no building. Where as on the Mandalay side, there was the MGM and the Mandalay and things like this. So we were going to where there was no building. So they couldn't shoot at us there," said Ure.
Ure says despite the panicked crowd, his police training kicked in – coming to the rescue of others.
"Here's the shocking part, when we got over there, that's when I realized how devastating and tragic this was because the victims -- people were carrying people, dragging people. The best way I could put it -- it was a blood bath. So, I came across a guy who was probably about a 28-year-old guy laying in the festival area on my way out. He was bleeding profusely from his right leg. He apparently had been shot and it cut his artery. Ironically a few months ago, I just went through tourniquet training at the Seguin Police Department. So I got his belt off and put a tourniquet on him and we dragged him across the street," said Ure.
Ure says by the time he knew it, he was among others in the crowd who took charge in helping as many people as they could especially since emergency officials were not immediately allowed into the area due to the active shooter status.
"The ironic thing was that people thought that I knew what I was doing at this point so they started bringing more people to me. So then, I've got several victims and a car was driving by trying to flee the area so we common geared the vehicle and the driver and I tell him, you've got to get us to the hospital. So I put the lady with the shot in the back in the front seat -- the lady that -- she had a sucking chest wound in the front seat -- I mean the back seat behind the driver and then I put the guy with my tourniquet on and I had to hold it because I couldn't tie it. So I'm riding in the backseat using my wrap and I've got my one hand over this sucking chest wound trying to seal it as best as I can. So we ended up going through Las Vegas at a high rate of speed, blowing red lights and actually going down the Strip in the opposite lane. When we got to the hospital, I got the patients inside where they got their treatment and when I left last night, they were doing great but while I was there, I helped a car that pulled up that had a gunshot victim -- a lady. We'll she didn't make it," said Ure.
Ure says even at one point while dodging bullets, Ure reached out to one of his colleagues here at the Seguin Police Department for some help.
"I knew I had to find some sort of intel. So I woke Captain (Victor) Pacheco up all the way back in Seguin. I told him, I said 'you got to wake up, you got to wake up fast, listen to me, we're in a gunfight.' I said it's going to make national news. I said turn on every news station, pull it up on the Internet. I got to find out where this guys is. I got to know where to run. So he did, but it was too soon. It was the inception of the event. I still remember telling Captain Pacheco, that this is going to be the worst shooting -- active shooter event in the United States. This was at the very inception, I can see people going down, it was just terrible," said Ure.
Ure, says he is just grateful that he and his best friend, who also happened to be the coordinator for the concert, were not seriously injured. Ure, who frequents Las Vegas for other similar events, says Las Vegas will never be the same.
"Last night was the night in Las Vegas -- if you were resourceful, it was your moment. It was just your moment last night. I saw so many people just helping and I heard one time -- a girl scream, 'I'm hit!' and this was while 20 to 30,000 people were trying to get out of there. So it's just pandemonium. It was chaotic but with some organization. We just didn't know where the guy was and if we had known that and I'm not sure if that would have mattered any because it was a fully automatic rifle. It was just unbelievable," said Ure.
Las Vegas Police identified the sole gunman as Stephen Paddock, 64, who killed himself following the massacre.
Ure says he remains in Las Vegas until he can find a flight back home. He says many of the flights out of Las Vegas had been cancelled. As of this morning, he was still not being allowed back into his hotel room in the Mandalay -- the same casino where the shots were fired. Ure says the shooter's window also happened to be 22 floors directly above his room.