Jamie Vazquez was celebrating a bachelorette party for her to-be sister-in-law in Las Vegas. The bridal party bought tickets for Route 91 Harvest Music Festival months in advance, excited for a weekend of celebration. Instead, they witnessed and survived the deadliest mass shooting in recent American history.
Vazquez spoke with Marie Claire about her harrowing experience. During Jason Aldean’s performance at the festival, she started to hear what sounded like fireworks:
“I thought someone was being a jerk and popping firecrackers, because the music kept playing. But then all of a sudden the lights flickered and someone started yelling, ‘Get down! Get down! It’s a shooter!’ There was mass chaos—we were laying flat on the ground listening to the pops of the gun, wondering if we were going to die.”
As the concert crowd began to realize what was happening, widespread panic ensued. The three women in the bridal party grabbed hands and immediately began to run.
They found their way to the parking lot, where they spotted a parked red van. “I pounded on the window, begging them to let us in,” said Vazquez. “I kept telling the driver that I was a mom and we needed to get in the van in order to live.”
The driver, Richard Hampton, opened the car door for them and shortly thereafter let in another woman who had been shot in the head. As the women attempted to stop the bleeding, Hampton drove off to find medics.
“They got her out and the officials start screaming at us, ‘You have to go! You have to get out of here!’ Without Richard we would have definitely died. He is our guardian angel.”
The bachelorette group made their way back to hometown Sacramento, thankfully safe and unharmed, although emotionally distraught.
“I have to wonder if there was someone or something watching out for us to ensure we survived and to make sure Meghann [Vazquez’s future sister-in-law] got back to my brother,” Vazquez told the publication. “We’re just happy we’re alive and together.”