yellow adidas trainers Las Vegas shooting NJ couple at concert said the screams kept coming
Valdo Panzera Jr. of North Haledon with his girlfriend, Megan Iannuzzi, at the Route 91 Harvest music festival in Las Vegas.(Photo: Courtesy of Valdo Panzera Jr.)Afterescaping from the deadliest mass shooting in American history, a North Jersey resident saidhe and his girlfriend are still in shock and continue to ponder how they survived the carnage Sunday night in Las Vegas.
Fifty nine people were killed and 527 injured after Stephen Paddock opened fire from a hotel room at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on concert goers at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. Valdo Panzera Jr. and his Paramus Catholic High School sweetheart, Megan Iannuzzi,were among the survivors. The playback afterplayback on the news. It’s horrible. It was literally a nightmare.
A view of the Route 91 Harvest music festival in Las Vegas, taken by North Haledon resident Valdo Panzera Jr. before the shooting began. (Photo: Courtesy of Valdo Panzera Jr.)
“We still don’t feel safe.”
Panzerasaid the first volley of bullets that rained down on the country music concert crowdsounded like the sound of clapping.
“Kind of like those hand clappers that you get on New Year’s Eve,” he said.
Panzera, 30, ofNorth Haledon flew to Las Vegas to attend the festival with Iannuzzi, 29, who lives 30 minutes away from the Vegas strip in Henderson, Nevada. Panzera said they are committed country music fans and purchased tickets for the festival months ago. They were looking forward to the event, andweeks ago, when they received their wristbands for the festival, Panzera posted a photo of them on Instagram.
The story continues below the photo.
Valdo Panzera Jr. of North Haledon posted this photo of the two three day wristbands for the Route 91 Harvest music festival on his Instagram page before the event. The passes were for him and his girlfriend, both Paramus Catholic High School graduates, to attend the event. (Photo: Courtesy of Valdo Panzera Jr.)
The couple attended the first two days of the festival, andon Sunday nightthey were watching performances fromgeneral admission bleachers at the rear ofthe venue.
After the first cluster of gunshots, Panzera said, he thought the sound was coming from fireworks or malfunctioning speakers. After a brief lull, Paddock opened fire a second time, andat that point,Panzera said, Jason Aldean stopped performing and ran from the concert stage.
“When he stopped playing, it went dead silent,” he said.
“Then, all of a sudden, [another] round . of bullets,” Panzera said. “I felt the vibration. You heard bullets whizzing by. Bullets were ricocheting off the floor at us. As it was happening, and I was sitting there in the seats watching this crowd, you just saw people going down.”
A map showing the escape route taken by North Haledon Valdo Panzera Jr. and his girlfriend as they fled the relentless shooting at the Route 91 Harvest music festival. (Photo: Courtesy of Valdo Panzera Jr.)
Panzera remembers yelling, “Get down!”
“The whole row ducked under these bleachers,” he said. “And all of a sudden the noise stopped again and I grabbed her. I said, ‘We gotta go. Let’s go.’ We ran down the stairs. We made this sharp left turn and it was a dead end. It was all fenced in.”
There were screams, andthrongs of people were pushing into them. Finally, two people opened up the fence to let people through.
“There’s people layingeverywhere, hiding,”Panzera said. “It was just chaos.”
They thought about hiding out there, buttwo security guards told them to run for their lives. Panzera said he recalls grabbed his girlfriend’s hand, and they fled, to the sounds of screaming and gunshots.
“It felt like forever,” he said. “As you’re running you just hear the noise. You hear the shooting still going on. You hear people screaming. You see people falling. Shoes flying off of them. Nobodyknows where to go. It was mass chaos.”
Uninjured, Panzera and Iannuzziended up in the lobby of Tropicana Las Vegas, where he said frantic crowds were taking shelter.
“We didn’t know where to turn,” he said. “Anywhere you turned, people were coming out, and they were going, ‘No, no, no, he’s there. He’s coming. He’s chasing us.’ So we’re thinking there’s a guy who is chasing us and just shooting people down.”
Panzera said the sound of loud,continuous gunshots echoed around them, and people couldn’t figureout where the shots were originating from.