Ron and Nicole Goodheart took the first flight back to Maine from Las Vegas that they could, the couple told Portland-based CBS affiliate WGME at their Freeport home Monday.
The Goodhearts had moved closer to the stage to see country music star Jason Aldean when the gunfire started. The incident would go on to become the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, claiming the lives of 59 people and wounding more than 500.
Suspected shooter Stephen Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nevada, had opened fire on the outdoor concert crowd from the 32nd floor of the nearby Mandalay Bay casino hotel.
“It was about 10 minutes into the show, I was videoing a clip of each song to show friends on Facebook,” Nicole told WGME. “And the shots went off. Some people automatically went down and saw people were I think either in shock or thought it was fireworks.”
Ron shielded Nicole with his body.
“I have my hands holding, praying, people started to pray with me and then it started back in, and then [Ron] was laying on top of me, I could see people just getting shot and falling to the ground,” Nicole recalled.
The Goodhearts eventually escaped the area after helping five other women get over a concert fence to get away.
“I made my phone call last night to my sister, my last phone call,” Nicole said. “Both my sisters and my daughter, just to say goodbye.”
The Goodhearts made it home with bumps and bruises, but alive.
Jeffrey Gotham, a 20-year-old Livermore man serving in the U.S. Air Force, was at the concert as well, his father, John Gotham, told WGME. Gotham told the Portland television station his son’s friend was among those wounded in the attack, suffering a gunshot wound in the leg, but his son was not hurt and his friend is expected to recover.
Gotham told WGME his son said people were using sections of fencing as makeshift stretchers to carry wounded people away from the scene.
“He called me and said, ‘Dad, I was running,’” Gotham told WGME. “And he was like, ‘All I could think in my mind was, I’m dead. I’m not going to make it out of here.’ And he just ran.
“He’s like, ‘I’ll never forget those shots. I’ll never forget that sound. I’ll never forget running and thinking, I’m dead,’” his father continued.