Meet the Dad Who Was Wounded Saving Dozens During Las Vegas Shooting
Jonathan Smith is being hailed as a hero after reportedly saving dozens during the Las Vegas mass shooting that left 58 dead and more than 500 injured.
“I really didn’t want to die,” Smith, a 30-year-old repairman, told The Washington Post.
Smith was at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival with his brother, Louis Rust, and several family members when 64-year-old Stephen Paddock rained automatic gunfire on the crowd from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Casino, according to the publication.
“You could hear the shots,” he said. “It sounded like it was coming from all over Las Vegas Boulevard.”
With that, Smith sprang into action. He told his nine family members to run and returned to the line of fire to look for his young nieces who had gotten lost in the crowd.
He soon began grabbing people and leading them to safety toward a handicapped parking area near a row of vehicles – “I got a few people out of there,” he recalled.
“I decided I’m not gonna leave anybody behind,” Smith told NBC’s Today.
He continued his rescue efforts even after he was struck in the neck by one of the gunman’s bullets.
“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.”
He was taken to Sunrise Hospital where he learned he has a cracked rib, a fractured collarbone and a bruised lung, according to the Post.
A photo of Smith in the hospital with a large bandage on his neck quickly made its way around the internet.
“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,” Post reporter Heather Long captioned the image.
The photo has been retweeted 97,000 times and has been liked 239,000 times.
Still, Smith told NBC that he simply “didn’t want to die” at the concert.
He added to the Post that he doesn’t view himself as a hero: “I don’t see myself that way. I would want someone to do the same for me. No one deserves to lose a life coming to a country festival.”
A GoFundMe page has been created to cover Smith’s medical and living expenses. He is described on the page as a “loving father” of three children.
In the wake of the incident, a victims’ fund has been started on GoFundMe by Steve Sisolak the Clark County, Nevada, commission chair. Other groups providing relief include the local chapter of the American Red Cross and the National Compassion Fund.
How to Help and Learn About Loved Ones
Friends and family are asked to report missing people believed to be connected to the shooting using the hotline 1-800-536-9488.
Anyone with photo or video evidence of the shooting is asked to call 1-800-CALL-FBI.
The city of Las Vegas has established a Family Reunification Center to help connect relatives with the more than 500 people who were injured.
In addition, city officials urged those locally who wish to donate blood to visit one of two donation centers operated by United Blood Services, either at 6930 W. Charleston in Las Vegas or at 601 Whitney Ranch Drive in Henderson, Nevada.