An off-duty Newport Beach police officer and a city staff member were among more than 500 people injured when a gunman opened fire Sunday night at an outdoor country music festival near the Las Vegas Strip, local authorities said.
Afterward, a Newport Beach resident who traveled to the festival with his girlfriend recounted the harrowing violence in an interview with the Associated Press.
And a Huntington Beach resident described “blood everywhere.”
More than 22,000 concert-goers sought cover or fled as a barrage of what sounded like machine-gun fire ripped through the crowd beginning at 10:08 p.m. At least 59 people were killed.
The injuries suffered by the Newport Beach staff member and police officer are not life-threatening, according to Newport Beach police spokeswoman Jennifer Manzella.
Their names have not been released.
“Our thoughts are with everyone involved in [the] incident, including the family and loved ones affected by this tragedy, and law enforcement, other first-responders and medical staff who work tirelessly to preserve life,” Manzella said in a statement.
Newport Beach resident Jason Sorenson, 33, told AP that he initially thought the shooter’s gunfire was the sound of fireworks from a nearby venue, but the situation became clear when singer Jason Aldean dropped his guitar and ran off the stage.
“It was horrific,” Sorenson said. “We just starting running and we saw people with blood all over their shirts. I was bracing to be hit by a bullet any second.”
People tried to flee between rounds of gunfire, he said.
“We ran and ducked, ran and ducked until we got as far away as we could,” he said.
Candace LaRosa, 48, of Huntington Beach told the Las Vegas Sun: “We were all dancing, we were having a good time; all of a sudden I heard all these shots. It was just mass, mass blood everywhere.”
Authorities have called the tragedy the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.
5 p.m. Oct. 3: This article was updated with Candace LaRosa’s comments.
3:50 p.m. Oct. 3: This article was updated with comments from Jason Sorenson.
This article was originally published at 10:15 a.m. Oct. 2.