‘There were people all hunkered down crying and screaming. It was chaotic. It was crazy.’ -- Mohave County Deputy Mike Sammut


KINGMAN – A 24-year veteran of the Mohave County Sheriff's office was in the front row enjoying the start of Jason Aldean's set when deadly sniper fire erupted at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival concert at the outdoor venue on the Las Vegas strip. 


Mike Sammut said familiar noise and smell helped him understand that what some thought was firecrackers was actually gunfire. “I was hearing ricochets and gunfire going over my head,” Sammut said.

Sammut said he jumped over a retaining wall and hunkered down between two large speakers. He said he helped others take cover when they scampered under the stage.

 Sammut said he realized someone was loading clips or changing weapons given the 10 or 15 seconds of silence between bursts of gunfire some 10-20 rounds at a time. 

“We were like ducks on a pond,” Sammut said. “I wanted to get the heck out of there and because of my training and experience. You don't want to stay where you are. You want to get moving because they're going to start picking you off.”

Sammut said he could tell that the fire was coming from the vicinity of the Mandalay Bay casino to the east and that he ran west seeking safety. He said he did not see any gunshot victims but did observe blood as he gained distance from the shooter.

“There were people all hunkered down crying and screaming,” Sammut said. “It was chaotic. It was crazy.”

Authorities in Las Vegas said at least 58 people were killed and more than 500 were injured in the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history.

The gunman who was killed was identified as Stephen Paddock, a 64-year old resident of Mesquite, Nevada.

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