RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) — A flight from Las Vegas arrived at RDU Monday carrying dozens of passengers, some changed forever after their experience in the city where the largest mass shooting in modern U.S. history occurred a day before.
Burnie and Kristen Little of Winston-Salem were in Vegas celebrating their anniversary and visiting relatives. They attended the Route 91 Harvest country music festival and heard the gunfire as it began.
“Right as we decided to leave, that’s when we thought we heard fireworks. Could see some smoke, what we thought was smoke initially on the ground,” Burnie Little said.
The couple said bullets landed just about 10 feet from them.
“Later, I thought it was probably dust coming up from where the bullets were hitting. Then, started hearing this rapid staccato fire and knew that was not fireworks. People started to run towards us. We were kind of towards the back of the crowd then at that point.”
He said the venue was evacuated and authorities took them from spot to spot in a hotel where they were sequestered for hours.
Burnie Little said they had the desire to help others, but were stuck in the hotel, as he tried to learn more about relatives on the Vegas strip.
“We were worried about them because we didn’t know what was going on throughout Las Vegas. Was it just an isolated incident?” he said.
Kristen Little said, “I’m lucky to be here. I made my phone calls last night in case I didn’t make it home. I’ve cried all the way here. I’m scared to be outside right now.”
“My heart breaks for the family. Just send prayers to the safety of the ones that are injured and the ones that lost family members,” she added.
The reality and scope of what happened took a while to hit the Littles amid the chaos.
“Our cabbie this morning taking us to the airport, he heard our story, he sort of put it into frame of reference, ‘Wow. You guys just survived the greatest mass shooting in the U.S.’ That’s when it really started to sink in,” said Burnie Little.
Kevin Dew and his fiancé Allison Ashley, arrived on the same flight as the Littles.
The Roxboro couple were in Las Vegas celebrating Dew’s birthday. He said as news spread of what happened, the city was quiet.
The couple said they were on another part of the Vegas strip when the shooting happened and were unaware of it until they returned to their hotel and heard the news.
“That’s scary. Makes you not want to go anywhere,” Ashley said.
“I ain’t going back,” Dew said.