On October 1, 2017, gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire on hundreds of country music fans in Las Vegas, killing 59 individuals and injuring more than 500. During the massacre, there were some heroic individuals who stepped up to help those in harm's way, some who even sacrificed their own lives to save others.
Jack Beaton attended the country music festival to celebrate his 23rd wedding anniversary with his wife Laurie. On her Facebook wall, Laurie wrote, "Here's to 23 wonderful years and looking forward to 23 more."
Shortly after, Laurie was struck by bullets and her husband jumped to action by laying on top of her to save her.
"Jack got on top of Laurie to protect her," Laurie's father explained. "He laid on top of her and said, ‘Laurie, I love you.' She said, ‘I love you, too,' and boom—he got hit. I don’t know how many times."
Another hero of the massacre, marine veteran Taylor Winston, was quick to act and began helping victims over a fence to get to safety. Next, Winston found a truck nearby which he used to create a makeshift hospital car to transport victims to and from the hospital. Winston was successful in bringing some two-dozen individuals to safety.
Jonathan Smith took a bullet in the neck while trying to help victims of the massacre who were too afraid to move. Forming a human chain, Smith urged nine victims to stick together and run to a nearby parking area to hide behind cars. Smith was struck by a bullet when he noticed some young girls who were not protected and ran over to them to warn them to get to safety.
Dawn-Marie Gray, a paramedic, with her husband Kevin, began helping the wounded by making tourniquets, checking for pulses and providing CPR to those in need. They also helped victims into cars so they could get relief at a hospital. Another hero, a sniper in the Iraq war, Rob Ledbetter, first saved his brother and wife by leading them to safety in the VIP area. Shortly after, Ledbetter began aiding victims by making tourniquets to help their shoulder injuries and wounded legs.
Lindsay Lee Padgett and her fiancé used her truck to transport five victims and on the way spotted an ambulance. "We were just trying to get people to the hospital," she said. "We got halfway there, and as we were getting on the freeway, we saw an ambulance stopped, so we went over and they started taking the most critical people and putting them in the ambulance."
Another hero, U.S. Army Reservist James Lawson, spotted victim Tom McIntosh's bleeding leg in a faulty tourniquet and stopped to care for him. "It was the completely wrong spot," Lawson said. "I walked up there and he was actively bleeding, so I adjusted the belt, got it up where it should be, tightened it down."
For stepping up in the face of horror, we are proud to name the heroes of the Las Vegas shooting Washington Free Beacon Men of the Year.