'Tonight's not your night' to die, Vegas savior recalls

2017-10-04 16:06
People light candles and pray at a makeshift memorial on the Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Mark RALSTON / AFP)

People light candles and pray at a makeshift memorial on the Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Mark RALSTON / AFP)

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Las Vegas - Bruce Ure saved three gravely wounded people at the Las Vegas massacre but insists he's not a hero, instead praising the acts of others there on Sunday night.

Ure, deputy police chief in Seguin, Texas, had travelled to Las Vegas to attend with thousands of others a country music festival across from the Mandalay Bay hotel-casino.

He was backstage in the VIP area when he heard what first sounded like fireworks.

"I'd never heard anything that high-pitched... And then I heard the ground popping... And I knew that we were under fire, right there in the VIP section, because the ground, the AstroTurf starting popping up and down," he said.

Wearing shorts, he and others ran for their lives as debris kicked up by bullets hit him in the back of his bare legs.

"Which means that he was shooting right behind us," with at least 50 rounds in each burst of automatic gunfire, Ure recalled near the scene where, police say, retired accountant Stephen Paddock, 64, gunned down 58 people.

Several floral bouquets, red balloons in the shape of a heart, and lighted candles paid tribute to the victims on Tuesday.

The killing field was still blocked by police as FBI investigators searched for clues, filmed by numerous television cameras.

Above them was the smashed 32nd floor window where the gunman, described by President Donald Trump as "demented", fired down on thousands of concert-goers.

"I was wearing black. That's maybe what saved me" from the carnage that soaked the ground with puddles of blood, including that of a young man Ure found shot through his right thigh.

'I don't know their names' 

"We knew he was dying. So we picked him up and dragged him across the street."

Ure was trying to stop the bleeding when two wounded women approached, one shot in the chest, the other in her back.

"I had to get them to a trauma centre," so he and another man forced a passing motorist to stop.

"We hollered, 'We need your car'.

"Now I'm putting three bloody people [into his car], one profusely bleeding - this guy didn't give it a second thought. So you talk about heroes that day, that guy is the hero. There's people like that that were everywhere," Ure said, his voice trembling with emotion despite 33 years as a policeman.

On the way to the hospital, Ure didn't let go of one woman's hand.

"They were all crying and they were saying that 'We're going to die, we're going to die', and I still remember telling them: 'Not tonight, not tonight. Tonight's not your night. You're going to be OK.'"

They reached the hospital in time and survived.

"I know that they are OK, but I don't know their names," Ure said.

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