On Sunday night, a man opened fire on a massive crowd at the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival in Las Vegas, killing a confirmed 59 and injuring some 500 others. During such evil, the American people in attendance, from concert-goers to off-duty and on-duty first responders, showed enormous good, selflessness, and heroism.
Jonathan Smith was one of those Americans.
The 30-year-old father has been credited with saving 30 people at the concert before he was struck by a bullet that remains lodged in his neck.
Smith's brother, Louis Rust, was the first in his group to realize that the sounds they were hearing were not fireworks, but gunshots.
"Rust realized what was really going on and told the entire extended family — all nine of them — to hold hands and run. By then, it was a stampede," reports The Washington Post.
Smith quickly realized that his family had become separated in the crowd, including his nieces, who range from 17-22 years in age.
"He says he turned back toward the stage to look for them, he saw people hunched behind a sheriff patrol car at the northwest edge of the concert lawn. Others were so frightened they didn’t know what to do. He kept shouting, 'Active shooter, active shooter, let’s go! We have to run,'" notes the Post. "He grabbed people and told them to follow him toward a handicapped parking area in the direction of the airport, away from Las Vegas Boulevard. It was a large field with several rows of vehicles. Smith and the others crouched down behind one of the last rows of cars."
“I got a few people out of there,” said the 30-year-old. “You could hear the shots. It sounded like it was coming from all over Las Vegas Boulevard.”
While the man was urging young girls who were not fully shielded from the gunfire to get on the ground, Smith was stuck in the neck by a bullet.
“I couldn’t feel anything in my neck. There was a warm sensation in my arm,” he told the Post.
The bullet remains lodged in his neck; he suffered a fractured collarbone, a cracked rib and a bruised lung, per the Post. Doctors are concerned that removing the bullet at this time will cause extensive harm.
“I might have to live with this bullet for the rest of my life,” said Smith.
The heroic man was saved by another heroic man, an off-duty San Diego police officer. The policeman found Smith a ride to a local hospital and stopped the bleeding in the interim:
The officer came over and tried to stop the bleeding and then flagged down passing cars to try to get Smith a ride. Many just drove by, but a pickup truck stopped and Smith was put in the back of it along with several other wounded victims. By then, he was struggling to breathe.
“I really didn’t want to die,” Smith said.
Smith doesn't think of himself as a hero, though. “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.”
Thankfully, Smith's relatives who attended the concert are safe.