LAS VEGAS -- Mark Seamans didn’t have time to think about his own safety.
“The switch turned on, and it became everything we train for,” said the deputy for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
Seamans, 32, was attending the Jason Aldean concert Sunday in Las Vegas with his girlfriend and 20 others when the shooting broke out. In all, about 40 Sheriff’s Department personnel were scattered throughout the venue.
Seamans, Rob Long, an investigator for the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, and another deputy were walking back from a bar area to their group, near the stage.
And then there was a popping noise.
Seamans didn’t realize, initially, it was gunfire.
“I just thought it was part of the concert coming through the public address system,” he recalled Monday.
Then another volley rang out, and the 11-year veteran deputy knew.
Seamans and his two companions crouched down and threw their bodies over several spectators, shielding them from bullets. They made their way back to their shell-shocked group, which decided to make a run for it to a makeshift restaurant at the venue’s rear.
While the group sheltered in place behind the eatery, Seamans took a look around the corner: A venue employee, seemingly dazed, was standing in the open, so Seamans grabbed him, pulling him behind a parked car.
Seamans and his group scrambled for a chain-link fence. He grabbed the bottom of it, pulling the fence up so everyone could squeeze through to escape the venue. Other concert-goers followed.
Seamans and Long, minus the other deputy who had become separated, led the group that had grown to 30 across the street to a parked tour bus, a motor home and a semi truck.
“We began knocking on the tour bus doors and got inside,” he said. “But we still had to figure where to go.”
The bus driver declined to move.
Seamans left the bus and ran about two blocks, where he encountered several heavily armed Las Vegas police officers wearing tactical gear.
He collected tourniquets and gauzes from the officers and headed back. As Seamans got near the bus, there was a scream. He saw a woman with two gunshot wounds to her upper body, and a man who had been shot in the back, bleeding on the ground.
Seamans and Long used gauze and applied pressure to the wounds. He flagged down a Toyota 4-Runner passing by.
“We loaded them up, and told the driver of the 4-Runner to get them to the nearest hospital,” he said.
Seamans and Long spotted several people nearby, huddled behind their parked cars. The two collected the keys to the vehicles.
“Our goal was to get all the car doors open and to start up the engines, so that they could jump in and leave,” Seamans recalled.
Back to the bus.
Seamans and Long and the group, by foot, escape to a nearby business complex, where they huddled. The driver of a Ford Raptor agreed to shuttle the group out of the area.
It took three trips.
“I saw a decent amount of people wounded and some had expired,” the veteran deputy said. “It was devastating.”
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