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On Monday morning, the nation woke up to the grim details of what many media outlets called the deadliest mass shooting in US history.
On Sunday night, as concertgoers enjoyed country music on the Las Vegas strip, gunfire erupted from a single, white male shooter. The act of terrorism has left — to date — 59 dead and over 500 injured. One of the more fortunate victims is 30-year-old Jonathan Smith.
While celebrating his brother’s birthday, Smith, like many others, found himself in grave danger. After assessing the situation, the Orange County, California resident corralled his family and told them to hold hands and run.
By this time, chaos was all around and stampedes of people were looking to escape the deadly attacks. In the midst of trying to lead his group to safety, Smith lost track of his young nieces and turned back to the stage to look for them. It was then that he saw a group of people who needed help.
In an act of heroism, Smith grabbed fellow concert attendees and advised them to follow him to a parking lot away from the main strip where the active shooter was thought to have been. As he shouted “Active shooter, active shooter,” people took heed and found cover behind a row of cars. However, when he saw that few young girls weren’t fully out of harm’s way, he stood up to urge them to duck down. It was then that a bullet struck him in the neck.
Thankfully an off-duty police officer was nearby and helped waive down a pick-up truck to transport him to the hospital. “I really didn’t want to die,” Smith recalled in an interview with the Washington Post. Right now he’s left with a bullet in his shoulder — an unfortunate reminder of the events that will likely forever change his life.
A picture of his bandaged wound has made headlines and many have called him a hero. In total, Smith is suspected to have helped 30 people to safety. Of the ordeal, he says he would want someone to do the same for him.
“No one deserves to lose a life coming to a country festival.”