A bartender is recalling the moment she watched a man take his final breath during the Las Vegas massacre. She refused to leave his side amid the chaos.
“I kept thinking about, ‘If this was me would people stay with me? Would they make sure I was OK? Would they contact my family?’ I couldn’t go,” Heather Gooze told ABC News.
Gooze was tending the VIP bar at the Route 91 Music Festival in Las Vegas when a gunman opened fire from an upper floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel, leaving more than 50 dead and 500 wounded in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
Gooze recalled waves of people running toward the tent where the bar was set up. Many were covered in blood. One of those people was Jordan McIldoon, who had been shot in the stomach, ABC News reports. According to CBC, he was a Canadian, attending visiting the music festival with his girlfriend.
Gooze helped carry McIldoon to safety and stayed by his side.
“I felt his fingers, like, tighten and then loosen,” recalled Gooze, according to CBC. After checking his vitals, she knew he was dead.
When McIldoon’s cell phone rang, Gooze answered it. It was his panicked girlfriend, who got separated from him in the crowd.
“She said, ‘Is he hurt?’ And I said, ‘Yes.’ She said, ‘Be honest with me, tell me, is he OK?’ And I said, ‘No.’ I said, ‘He’s passed away; he’s dead,'” Gooze told ABC News.
Gooze stayed by his side and spoke with McIldoon’s mother and grandmother.
“I would never want myself or one of my family members to be left alone,” she told CBC. “I needed to make sure that they could identify him, that they knew who he was, that they knew he has a girlfriend who was here.”