Law enforcement in Las Vegas, Nevada are putting together the pieces of what lead to the most deadly mass shooting in modern American history. But already, the impacts are being felt here in the Central Valley.
A number of other Central Valley residents also attended the concert, which is an annual event.
Janine Evans went to the festival for the first time with her sister and her friends, who go every year.
She says for the first few nights the group stood at the front of the stage. But Sunday night they decided to hang at the back of the crowd where there was more room.
When the gunshots started, Evans says they knew they were coming roughly from the direction of the Mandalay Bay Hotel but sure exactly where.
“It was constant firing. It was loud. It seemed like it was getting louder and louder like it was closer and closer. So we finally got up and decided to make a run for it. It was chaos,” Evans says.
Begin toward the back means Evans was able to avoid the crushing stampede that is being blamed for at least some of the injuries. Evans says they would wait for breaks in the gunfire to run from cover to cover.
“When we were on the sidewalk, I felt like a sitting duck. So we went behind a cement wall and hunkered down there for a little while. And then a cop ran up to us and said ‘you guys have got to get out of here. Go,’” Evans says.
Evans says she is familiar with firearms but has never heard one fire so loudly and constantly. She says she has some crisis training at attempted to help other concert goers calm down and flee for cover.
She and all her friends were able to make it safely back to their hotel. However, they are not sure if they will be returning to the festival if it is put on again.
Among the hundreds injured was six-year veteran Bakersfield Police Department Officer Aaron Mundhenke. BPD spokesman Sergeant Ryan Kroeker says the off-duty officer wasn’t the only one from the department at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival.
“I know we had a least ten officers who were there of different rank and different tenure. I think regularly aw have officers go because Las Vegas is only about four hours away and it’s a pretty big festival,” Kroeker says.
Kroeker says Mundhenke was shot in the hip and suffered a broken pelvis in the barrage of bullets that rained down on the crowd. He was the only officer injured. He is in stable condition in Las Vegas and is expected to survive the shooting. He could be released as soon as Wednesday.