BEND, OR -- The death toll from Sunday night's shooting in Las Vegas is now at 59 ... but the full impacts are not yet known.
Bend-La Pine School Board Member, Andy High, was attending a show inside the Mandalay Bay at the time of the shooting. "I saw some people running in the hallways, and at the time, they shut the doors and I got back to my seat, and said 'something's going on,' and about 20 seconds later, they shut down the show and said 'we have an emergency and we need to shut down for the time being, so please wait,' and at the time, you don't really know, but when you have a thousand people, everyone pulls out their phones and you quickly figure out what's going on."
But, he says there was no way to know for sure what was happening right outside the doors. "I'm one of the fortunate ones, but there's 58 [sic] don't get to go home and they were coming to enjoy an event and one crazy guy decides to ruin it for everybody."
For High, it was a long nine hours, sitting in that auditorium ... but he was impressed with the eight police officers who handled the crowd and ensured they all made it through the ordeal safely. When the show was interrupted for what was described as only "an emergency," those police officers kept everyone in the auditorium calm. "You could tell when we were in full lock-down and it was intense that those eight guys were willing to do anything and everything to protect the thousand of us in the auditorium."
He says cell phones provided some information of what was going on, but when they were allowed to evacuate, High says he was unprepared for what was outside. "We walked down the street and you can't quite explain it, when you walk out and see the hotel right above you and you can see the blown out windows from the shooter and you can only be thankful and you can only feel sorrow for those phone calls that others have to make."
High says he can't begin to express his gratefulness to the first responders, and says his heart goes out to the loved ones of those who were killed.