Jo-Ann Bursey

Castlegar woman describes being caught in Las Vegas attack

‘It was just mayhem. Everybody’s running and trying to take cover, not knowing’

A group of six Castlegar residents were among those sitting in the stands at a country music festival in Las Vegas when a gunman opened fire.

Jo-Ann Bursey, a realtor, was part of the group and describes what happened that night.

“We were sitting in the bleachers … watching Jason Aldean — he was the last act that played for the night — and heard some, what I thought was, fireworks,” she said.

“I looked above — all of us did, it was a group of eight of us — and we looked up and we just went, ‘That’s not fireworks.’ The music stopped and the shots started again.”

Bursey’s group was separated but managed to meet up later. They hid underneath the bleachers and heard more shots.

“Then it was just mayhem. Everybody’s running and trying to take cover, not knowing. You could tell the shots were up high, then the sound changed and it just got louder, and we were running across the parking lot, hiding in between the tents for some of the booths that were there,” she said.

“We got out by a … parkade and sat down on the ground behind a cement wall and then managed to get into the Excalibur, where they ushered tons of people through and then we sat in the lobby on the floor for a while. Then we were on lockdown until 4:30 in the morning.”

Bursey and her group were staying at the Luxor Hotel & Casino, across the street from the Mandalay Bay Hotel, where the shooter, Stephen Craig Paddock, was firing from a room on the 32nd floor.

Bursey and her group had eaten dinner at the Mandalay earlier in the evening.

“It was pretty surreal,” said Bursey, who was making her way back to Castlegar Tuesday morning. “Can’t wait — going to kiss the Canadian ground when I get back in a couple of hours.”

Six of the people in Bursey’s group, including herself, were from Castlegar and two were from Texas. None of them was injured, but they ended up looking after a Las Vegas girl while they were fleeing.

“We kind of put her underneath our wing and took her with us because she was by herself and she had two friends. But I’ve been in touch with her since we got out of Vegas — we got out of Vegas last night — and two of her friends did die,” said Bursey.

“It was pretty traumatic, so we had her spend the night in lockdown with us and then took her back to our hotel — once they allowed us to go back in — and just ensured that she got home safely.”

Bursey also met an elderly woman who had been injured.

“I’m looking at her and I say, ‘Are you OK? You have some blood on your shoulder,’ and she said, ‘Yeah, I got shot.’”

Bursey asked to take a look and found that the woman’s shoulder had been glazed by shrapnel. Bursey told her she needed to get looked at, but the woman replied, ‘There are more people hurt more than I am. I will be OK.”

Bursey brought the woman to the attention of security to make sure she got help.

More than 500 people were wounded, and 59 people were killed in what’s considered the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

Paddock was found dead by the Las Vegas Metro Police Department SWAT team when they breached his hotel room.

Just Posted

Invermere gets new CAO

Invermere found his new CAO after a long period of research.

Radium council discusses short term rentals

RHS council are elaborating the second draft plan for STR

Farmers’ Institute report highlights emerging local food scene

Beef cattle ranching remains mainstay of valley agriculture

Beautification process begins in Canal Flats downtown

Canal Flats wants to improve the esthetic of the town

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

RCMP issue two $2,300 COVID fines at same Metro Vancouver vacation rental within 24 hours

Cpl. Mike Kalanj said it was ‘quite frankly appalling’ to see parties breaking COVID-19 rules

Here’s how voting amid a pandemic will happen in B.C.

Elections BC has worked with the provincial health office to determine safety protocols for voting

B.C. privacy commissioner will hear First Nations complaints about COVID

The hearing will rely on written submissions from the Indigenous governments as well as the Ministry of Health

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Majority of Canadians support wearing masks during COVID-19, oppose protests: poll

Nearly 90 per cent felt wearing a mask was a civic duty because it protects others from COVID-19

Paper towel in short supply as people stay home, clean more, industry leader says

While toilet paper consumption has returned to normal levels, paper towel sales continue to outpace pre-COVID levels

Group wants Parliament, courts to hold social media to same standard as publishers

Daniel Bernhard made the comments shortly after Friends of Canadian Broadcasting released a research paper

Most Read