by: Kelcie Willis, Cox Media Group National Content Desk Updated:
LAS VEGAS - Jonathan Smith was in Las Vegas celebrating his brother’s 43rd birthday when a gunman shot into crowds on Sunday at the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival in Las Vegas. He immediately thought to save others and was shot in the process.
The Washington Post reported that Smith’s brother, Louis Rust, is a country music fan and had attended the festival in the past. This year, Jason Aldean was headlining.
The two were there with eight other family members, including three nieces, ages 22, 18 and 17 year.
When gunshots began, Smith, 30, told The Washington Post he thought they were fireworks, but soon after, Aldean looked at his security team and ran off stage. The music stopped and the lights went out.
Smith’s nieces were his priority, but they got separated as the crowd began to stampede. Smith started shouting, “Active shooter, active shooter, let’s go! We have to run,” grabbing people near him. Some were hiding behind a patrol car and others were standing still with fear. He told them to follow him as he walked away from the shooting and toward a row of vehicles, which they crouched behind.
“I got a few people out of there,” Smith, who lives in Orange County, California, told The Washington Post from Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center in Las Vegas. “You could hear the shots. It sounded like it was coming from all over Las Vegas Boulevard.”
Smith was shot when he tried to get some young girls closer to proper coverage from the bullets.
“I couldn’t feel anything in my neck,” the father of three told The Washington Post. “There was a warm sensation in my arm.”
Smith said an off-duty police officer managed to flag down a truck. Smith and other injured victims were loaded into the back and taken to a hospital.
Washington Post correspondent Heather Long said that officer contacted her and said he thought Smith would die.
Smith is still here. He has a cracked rib, bruised lung and fractured collarbone. KABC reported that doctors are leaving the bullet in his neck for fear of causing more damage.
“I might have to live with this bullet for the rest of my life,” Smith said.
Despite being referred to as a hero by many, including Chelsea Clinton, Smith says he doesn’t see himself as such.
“I would want someone to do the same for me. No one deserves to lose a life coming to a country festival.”
Tiffany Jones, Smith’s sister-in-law, set up a GoFundMe page to help with Smith’s Medical expenses. It has raised more than $30,000 in less than 24 hours, surpassing its $7,000 goal.
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