Monday morning, the world woke up to the news of the deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history. At least 59 people were killed and 527 wounded when a man opened fire during the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, NV, on Sunday night.
But in the middle of the horror, heroes sprung to action to save as many people as possible. One of them is Jonathan Smith, a 30-year-old concertgoer from Orange County, CA, who rescued about 30 people during the shooting.
His photo was shared by Washington Post reporter Heather Long — and it quickly went viral. She tweeted, "Jonathan Smith, 30, saved ~30 people last night before he was shot in the neck. He might live w/the bullet for rest of his life. #vegasstrip"
Smith told the Post that he was enjoying the music festival with nine of his family members, who traveled to Las Vegas to celebrate his older brother's birthday. During Jason Aldean's performance, they heard what sounded like fireworks. And then, they realized the sound was actually that of gunshots. Soon, the family was running away from the line of fire.
"You could hear the shots," he said. "It sounded like it was coming from all over Las Vegas Boulevard."
While they were trying to escape, Smith got separated from his three young nieces. So he went back to the line of fire to try to find them. While there, he started grabbing people and pushing them toward a handicapped parking area near a row of cars, where they would be safe.
“I decided I’m not gonna leave anybody behind,” Smith told NBC’s Today.
He kept trying to rescue people, and stood up to help three young girls who weren't fully hidden. That's when he was shot in the neck.
"I couldn’t feel anything in my neck. There was a warm sensation in my arm," he told the Post. "I might have to live with this bullet for the rest of my life."
Smith was discharged Monday afternoon. His wounds include a fractured collarbone, a cracked rib, and a bruised lung. But his efforts during the shooting saved dozens of lives — even though he doesn't consider himself a hero.
"I don’t see myself that way," he said. "I would want someone to do the same for me. No one deserves to lose a life coming to a country festival."
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