Jo-Ann Bursey

Castlegar woman describes being caught in Las Vegas attack

A group of six Castlegar residents were among those sitting in the stands when a gunman opened fire.

A group of six Castlegar residents were among those sitting in the stands at a country music festival in Las Vegas when a gunman opened fire.

Jo-Ann Bursey, a local realtor, was part of the group and describes what happened that night.

“We were sitting in the bleachers … watching Jason Aldean — he was the last act that played for the night — and heard some, what I thought was, fireworks and I looked above — all of us did, it was a group of eight of us — and we looked up and we just went, ‘That’s not fireworks.’ The music stopped and the shots started again,” she said.

Bursey’s group was separated but managed to meet up later. They hid underneath the bleachers and heard more shots.

“Then it was just mayhem. Everybody’s running and trying to take cover, not knowing. You could tell the shots were up high, then the sound changed and it just got louder, and we were running across the parking lot, hiding in between the tents for some of the booths that were there,” she said. “We got out by a … parkade and sat down on the ground behind a cement wall and then managed to get into the Excalibur, where they ushered tons of people through and then we sat in the lobby on the floor for a while. Then we were on lockdown until 4:30 in the morning.”

Bursey and her group were staying at the Luxor Hotel & Casino, across the street from the Mandalay Bay Hotel, where the 64-year-old Nevada man was firing from a room on the 32nd floor.

Bursey and her group ate dinner at the Mandalay earlier in the evening.

“It was pretty surreal,” said Bursey, who was in Spokane Tuesday morning, making her way back to Castlegar.

“Can’t wait — going to kiss the Canadian ground when I get back in a couple of hours,” she said.

Six of the people in Bursey’s group, including herself, were from Castlegar and two were from Texas. None of them was injured, but they ended up taking a Las Vegas girl under their wing while they were fleeing.

“We kind of put her underneath our wing and took her with us because she was by herself and she had two friends. But I’ve been in touch with her since we got out of Vegas — we got out of Vegas last night — and two of her friends did die,” said Bursey. “It was pretty traumatic, so we had her spend the night in lockdown with us and then took her back to our hotel — once they allowed us to go back in — and just ensured that she got home safely.”

Bursey also met an elderly woman who had been injured.

“I’m looking at her and I say, ‘Are you OK? You have some blood on your shoulder,’ and she said, ‘Yeah, I got shot.’”

Bursey asked to take a look and found that the woman’s shoulder had been glazed by shrapnel. Bursey told her she needed to get looked at, but the woman replied, ‘There are more people hurt more than I am. I will be OK.”

Bursey brought the woman to the attention of security to make sure she got help.

Over 500 people were injured and 59 people were killed in the Las Vegas attack.

The shooter, Stephen Craig Paddock, was found dead by the Las Vegas Metro Police Department SWAT team when they breached his hotel room.

Just Posted

River rising in Trail

For up-to-date reservoir elevation and river flow information, visit BC Hydro’s website bchydro.com

Victorian-era magnate, con artist had Rossland connections

New book explores fascinating history of Whitaker Wright

Snowed In Comedy Tour returns to B.C.

Show comes to Trail on Jan. 30

Minor hockey roots preserved in Trail mural

The Trail Minor Hockey Association founded Minor Hockey Week in 1957

Tell the Times

Web Poll: Have you been the target of petty theft in Trail?

Students seen mocking Native Americans could face expulsion

One 11-minute video of the confrontation shows the Haka dance and students loudly chanting

12 poisoned eagles found on Vancouver Island

Improper disposal of euthanized animal suspected

Olympic softball qualifier to be held in B.C.

Tournament is to be held Aug. 25 to Sept. 1

B.C. resident creates global sport training program

The 20 hour course teaches the science and application of interval training at the university level

B.C. VIEWS: Fact-checking the NDP’s speculation tax on empty homes

Negative-option billing is still legal for governments

May plans next move in Brexit fight as chances rise of delay

Some say a lack of action could trigger a ‘public tsunami’

Group challenges ruling for doctors to give referrals for services that clash with beliefs

A group of five Canadian doctors and three professional organizations is appealing

Major winter storm wreaks havoc on U.S. travel

Nearly 5,000 flights were cancelled Sunday around the country

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

Most Read