October 6, 2017
Natalie Vanderstay was one of an estimated 22,000 people attending the third and final evening of the Route 91 Harvest Festival on Oct. 1. The country-music event was held in an outdoor venue on the Las Vegas Strip. It was just after 10 p.m. when tragedy struck, and Natalie, with her fellow concertgoers, became the unwitting target of what has been reported as the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.
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Reportedly, a single gunman identified as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock opened fire on the crowd from his hotel room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. Authorities say he killed 58 people. Nearly 500 more were either wounded in the gunfire or injured in the ensuing chaos.
Natalie, a nurse from California, says she knew right away she’d been shot, and though she’d wanted to assist others around her who’d also been injured, she was too badly wounded.
“My heart is hurting for all the people I couldn’t help,” she says.
She continues, “It’s going to take some time to heal from all this, but I still have to move forward and live my life.”