HOBBS, N.M. (KRQE) – While the horrific shooting in Las Vegas has produced stories of loss, tales of heroism are now also emerging.
One of those stories is coming from Hobbs Police Chief Chris McCall, who summed up that night with one word, “terrifying.”
Even with his extensive law enforcement experience, Chief McCall says nothing could have prepared him for what he, his wife, and the roughly 22,000 concert goers would go through that night.
“We immediately dropped down to our stomachs and began yelling for people to get down as well as people were still kind of standing around in shock. It was like it wasn’t a real event occurring. It’s kind of hard to get your brain wrapped around that in the moment,” Chief McCall said.
Chief McCall says he was sitting in an elevated area near the stage that overlooked the crowd below when it all began. He says when the first small burst of gunfire broke out, everyone thought they were just fireworks, but McCall recognized that sound as automatic gunfire.
“You could really see the crowd beginning to move and the fear setting in at that time and starting recognizing that this was happening. This is a real event. We are in danger and trying to move away from the gunfire,” McCall said.
That’s when he and his wife got down to the floor and tried to get those standing around in shock to run for cover. Chief McCall says as the gunman was reloading, they made a run for it, hiding underneath the platform, then in a gutter, eventually making it safely to a parking garage. Along the way, McCall helped others get to safety.
“We really worked to try to get ourselves and other folks out of the area. We collected up individuals who had gotten separated from their group along the way, trying to get them to safety as well,” said Chief McCall.
McCall says his training kicked in as he looked for any kind of secondary threats as concert goers were yelling about other shooters being on the ground.
“At that point, people were flowing through saying there were shooters in other casinos as well. We didn’t know how many shooters were out and moving and amongst the crowd at that time because, in the chaos, the event takes on a life of its own,” said Chief McCall.
Chief McCall says he commends the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. He says their rapid response did save lives.
After the shooting, Chief McCall and his wife spent the day in their hotel room trying to process what happened. They are both now home safe in Hobbs.