Dispatcher recounts Las Vegas shooting to NEC students

  • Debris litters the concert festival grounds Oct. 3, 2017, after a mass shooting in Las Vegas. AP file

  • Bryanna Giorgio spoke to New England College students on Tuesday about her firsthand experience at the mass shooting at a Las Vegas country music concert last month. Lola Duffort / Concord Monitor

Monitor staff
Published: 11/21/2017 7:23:27 PM

Bryanna Giorgio was having “the best weekend ever” in Las Vegas when she heard a popping sound.

“Laughing, dancing, joking, singing, everything,” she said.

“Then, all of a sudden, you heard what sounded like firecrackers. We all thought it was firecrackers,” the Methuen, Mass., police dispatcher told New England College criminal justice students Tuesday, recounting her firsthand experience of a mass shooting at a country music concert in Las Vegas last month that killed 59 people and wounded more than 500.

“(Country music singer) Jason Aldean even thought it was firecrackers. He didn’t stop singing,” she said. “Then all of a sudden you heard people start screaming ‘He’s down. He’s down.’ ”

That’s when Giorgio noticed the sound of bullets ricocheting off the stage.

“I looked at my friend and I said, ‘We need to get out of here,’ ” Giorgio said.

The pair ran, not really knowing where the exits were. Some of the people running alongside the two were shot, Giorgio said. One was hit in the chest, she remembered, and another in the arm.

“We saw blood on the ground,” she said.

The two made it out of concert venue and into a nearby hotel. After someone cried “shooter,” Giorgio said, the panicked crowd ran to another hotel. That’s where, with a seeming pause in the chaos, she tried to call her family. Her parents weren’t picking up, she said, but her brother did.

“I told him what was going on, that I was safe at that time. I told him I loved him,” she said.

The pair then ran to another motel, which gave the crowd that had come in from the streets rooms to stay in. That’s when she started hearing all the rumors floating around – that there were multiple gunmen and that the police had apprehended only one. That there were car bombs.

“It just goes to show that the rumor mill is crazy at that point. You have no idea what’s true,” she said.

Giorgio called her hotel – she was staying at the Excalibur – and found out it was on lockdown. When it reopened in the early morning hours, she walked back. After resting awhile, she headed straight to the airport – about five hours early.

“I didn’t want to be in that area anymore,” she said.

Giorgio is now back at home and back at work. But the effects of the trauma she’s endured linger.

Speaking with a co-worker outside recently, the sound of a jackhammer from nearby construction “made my stomach drop,” she said.

And she’s perpetually looking for escape routes.

“I check exits everywhere I go,” she said.

(Lola Duffort can be reached at 369-3321 or lduffort@cmonitor.com.)

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