Life
Hero Dad Saves People In Las Vegas And Gets Bullet In Neck
This man saves 30 people during the Las Vegas shooting, but he wouldn't emerge unscathed.
Ashley Brewer
10.05.17

A photo of Jonathan Smith has been shared hundreds of thousands of times after saving 30 people in the Las Vegas shooting. A heroic action that has left him with a bullet in his neck.

Twitter
Source:
Twitter

Smith, a 30-year-old father of three, had traveled to Las Vegas with his brother, Louis Rust, to attend the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival; it was also Rust’s 43rd birthday. The copy machine repairman from Orange County, California was shot on that fateful Sunday night — however, he realizes it could have been much worse, and he certainly doesn’t think of himself as a hero.

Smith and his family were enjoying the music festival — they had purchased tickets close to the stage to watch Jason Aldean. They had spent the whole weekend enjoying the concert, but all of that was about to change.

When the gunshots started, Smith first thought they were fireworks. He noticed Jason Aldean, the performer, run off stage, then the lights went out.

Washington Post
Source:
Washington Post

Rust soon realized what was happening and told all 9 of their family members to hold hands and run. At this point, there was a stampede of people trying to escape the horrific scene as well. Smith stayed behind looking for his three nieces that were separated in the crowd.

When Smith turned around back toward the stage to look for them, it was chaos. Some people were huddled behind a police car while others were so stunned and confused they didn’t know what to do. Smith just kept shouting at them to run because of an active shooter.

Smith started grabbing people and ushering them toward a handicapped parking area away from Las Vegas Boulevard where the shots seemed to be coming from.

After grabbing as many people as he could, they made it to the end of the lot. The parking area was a field that was lined with parked cars belonging to the concert goers. Smith and the people he grabbed crouched down behind cars in the very last row.

“I got a few people out of there,” Smith told the Washington Post. “You could hear the shots. It sounded like it was coming from all over Las Vegas Boulevard.”

Washington Post
Source:
Washington Post

When Smith noticed that a few girls weren’t fully hidden by the cars, he stood up to move them — that’s when he took a bullet to the neck.

“I couldn’t feel anything in my neck. There was a warm sensation in my arm,” Smith said.

He was taken to the Sunrise Hospital and was discharged the following day. He had a fractured collarbone, a cracked rib, and a bruised lung. The doctors also thought it was best if they left the bullet inside of his body, moving it could cause more harm than good.

“I might have to live with this bullet for the rest of my life,” Smith said as he winced through the pain.

Smith was dragged to safety by an off-duty police officer named Tom McGrath; he had put his fingers in Smith’s wound to stop the bleeding.

“He’s somebody who inspires me. I know he might not want to give himself all the credit, but he definitely did a wonderful job, and I was just happy to be there to help him towards the end, and get him out of there when he was hit,” McGrath told local news channel WGN.

“I don’t see myself that way,” Smith says about his ‘hero’ label. “I would want someone to do the same for me. No one deserves to lose a life coming to a country festival.”

The photo snapped of Smith while he was waiting to be discharged from the hospital — it has since gone viral. Even though he doesn’t want to be hailed a hero, the people whose lives he saved would say otherwise.

The full news footage is below.

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By Ashley Brewer
hi@sbly.com
Ashley Brewer is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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