Las Vegas survivor reflects one year later

MEDFORD, Ore.– This Monday marked one year since the mass shooting on the Las Vegas strip where a gunman killed 58 people during the Route 91 Harvest country music festival.

For those who were there, the memories of that day are as fresh and vivid as ever. Local Medford man and afternoon host on Q100.3, Bryce Burtner, was one of those who was there that night.

“Nightmares. You know you tend to wake up to little noises thinking they’re bigger than they are,” he said.

Burtner often thinks back to that weekend in Las Vegas where he and thousands of others fled for their lives. As a remembrance to those who lost their lives, he still wears the wrist band from the music festival on his left hand.

“You start thinking that, you know, why me?” he said. “How many times does this kind of thing have to happen for that matter.”

On October 1, 2017, Burtner described how he and his wife were on the outskirts of the crowd as Jason Aldean began to close out the final night of the festival. Suddenly, he says he remembered hearing what sounded like fireworks at first but then the horrible realization set in.

“My wife and I ended up running out the back, somebody had pried the gate apart and continuously ran for what seemed like forever,” he said.

Burtner says he remembers seeing people’s belongings strewn everywhere as he ran. But it was other memories that were much more vivid.

“I did see a couple of people with blood on them,” he said. “Dead bodies a little bit later.”

Eventually he and his wife hid in a hotel room with others – making for a surreal moment in time.

“There were people that had passed right around the outside of this hotel / timeshare, ” he said. “And the police were surrounding us all night long and we had no idea.”

Looking back, he says that where they were was actually one of the safest spots they could have been in – it just didn’t feel like that at the time.

Now as Burtner moves forward he knows that night forever changed his life.

“You know, you don’t let stuff bother you as much anymore. You’re open to people’s quirks…” contemplated Burtner. “I don’t know. It’s… life’s too short. Life’s too short.”

NBC5 News Reporter Miles Furuichi graduated from Chapman University with degrees in English and Journalism. He received post graduate experience in Los Angeles in photojournalism and commercial photography. He also spent time in Dublin, Ireland working in print journalism and advertising.

Miles is a Rogue Valley native, raised in Ashland. He enjoys hiking, mountain biking and photography.

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