• The view from Connie McKinney’s room at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas. In the middle, Jason Aldean performs during the Route 91 Harvest music festival and to the right is the Mandalay Bay, from where Stephen Paddock committed the worst mass shooting by an individual in United States history during the concert.

Mitchell County woman witnesses Las Vegas shooting

Connie McKinney opened the window of her room at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas Oct. 1 to listen to a concert by one her favorite country music artists, Jason Aldean, who was performing during the Route 91 Harvest music festival at Mandalay Bay a short distance away.

Not long after, the music was interrupted by gunshots.

Unbeknownst to McKinney at the time, what she heard was the barrage of gunshots from 64-year-old Stephen Paddock’s 32nd-floor room at Mandalay Bay that killed 58 people and injured 489 others. It is the deadliest mass shooting by a single person in our nation’s history

McKinney, of Spruce Pine, was in Las Vegas celebrating the 30th birthday of her niece, Meagan.

“It was my first time going to Las Vegas,” McKinney said. “We had dinner and afterward Meagan and her friends went out and I stayed in the room. It wasn’t long after everyone realized what had happened I got a text from my sister, Donita Holland Linton, Meagan’s mom, asking where Meagan was.”

As it turns out Meagan was close the gunfire – close enough to hear it and begin running.

“She was actually running toward the gunfire because no one knew where it was coming from,” McKinney said. “She and her friends were directed away from the gunfire and taken to the roof of the Tropicana where they hid behind a large air-conditioning unit for several hours until they were cleared to leave.”

Paddock died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound and his motive remains unknown.

The MItchell News

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