Austinites recount moments surrounding Las Vegas shooting


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Bryce Wellman was with friends in a VIP tent at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas when the shots rang out. Knowing they couldn’t stay in the tent, Wellman said he and several others started running when the gunman would stop to reload.

While running, he called his mother and stayed on the phone with her until he got to a hiding spot. He also shot video on his cellphone of the chaotic scene around him.

“I thought back to the videos that I saw during the Pulse [Orlando] shooting, and I saw the text messages and the messages to peoples’ moms ’cause that was their last thought,” said Wellman, choking up. “If I’m going to go out I want to make sure my mom’s on the phone with me so I can feel as comfortable as possible.”

While Wellman was in survival mode, several other Texans were just thankful they decided to not attend the festival. KXAN spoke to several people at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport after returning from Las Vegas.

Robert and Terry Williams live in College Station and were in Las Vegas celebrating Terry’s birthday. They had tickets to attend last night’s country music show but decided not to go.

“We decided that Jason Aldean was going to be too late for us because our flight was so early this morning, so we decided not to go,” said Terry Williams. “We went back to our hotel at Treasure Island and didn’t go to the concert. Now I can see it’s probably a good thing that we didn’t.”

New Braunfels resident Kimberlee Wertens was at the show with several of her friends, but they escaped without any injuries. She recalled the trauma as her husband greeted her at ABIA Monday evening.

“We’re physically not injured, but we’re definitely mentally damaged from being in this event,” Wertens said. “I can’t even imagine the people who had injuries and people who lost lives, what their family and friends are going through. It’s just overwhelming.”

Her husband, Sean Wertens was just as glad to have her home safely. She called him frantically asking what to do as soon as the shots rang out.

“I basically told her, ‘You need to get out of there and just keep going! Just head away from the gunfire,'” he recalled. “Pretty scary to be here and have her be there and not be able to do anything but support. I couldn’t do anything from where I was at,” Sean Wertens said.

Kimberlee Wertens said she was able to run to a nearby casino and take cover. She said everyone inside was placed on lock down until early Monday morning.

Meanwhile, family and friends of several other people from the Austin area have announced that their loved ones were caught in gunman’s fire.

A Cedar Park woman is recovering from surgery after sustaining two gunshot wounds. A Go Fund Me Page has been posted for a father from West Austin who suffered a gun shot wound near his chest. Friends say a mother from southwest Austin was also shot.

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