by G. Brown
Three days after the deadliest mass shooting in American history and investigators are still trying to piece together the mystery of why it happened. As police talk to family members and the people who knew Stephen Paddock the best they’re uncovering bits and pieces about the shooter.
For three days Paddock perfected his plot as he hid behind a “do not disturb” sign on the door to 32nd floor hotel room. Inside the room was Paddock’s cache of 23 handguns, high-powered rifles and explosives.
The Daily Beast reports the 64-year old was perhaps planning a different target…the annual festival where a well known rapper performed the previous weekend. Daily Beast quotes “a senior law enforcement source” and says Paddock “rented multiple condos overlooking the annual Life Is Beautiful Festival, which this year was headlined by Lorde and Chance the Rapper”. The article goes on to say, “Paddock may have lost his nerve or simply changed his plans and checked into the Mandalay Bay Hotel on September 28.”
Paddock instead targeted the Route 91 Harvest Festival where 59 people were killed and 527 hurt.
There have been miraculous stories of survival and courage. None more heroic than the story of Johnathan Smith. The 30 year old could have made sure he and those around him got to safety as bullets rained from above into a crowd of panic stricken concert goers. But Smith showed no concern for his own life, but the lives of strangers around him.
Smith was at the festival with his brother and nine extended family members when the gunfire began. As the crowd began to stampede, WGN TV says Smith “saved 30 people in the Las Vegas shooting and took a bullet in his neck.” WGN goes on to say Smith warned the crowd shouting, “Active shooter, active shooter, let’s go! We have to run.” Smith says he got a few people to safety, but witnesses told the news outlet, “that Smith saved 30 lives before being shot in the neck. An off-duty police officer gave Smith medical attention until he flagged down a truck that drove Smith to the hospital.”
The picture a reporter took of Smith in the ER has been retweeted more 250,000 times. Even former first daughter Chelsea Clinton has shared it…
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) October 2, 2017
The copy machine repairman dismisses the label that he’s a hero. Smith says, ““I don’t see myself that way. I would want someone to do the same for me. No one deserves to lose a life coming to a country festival.” Smith reportedly will have to live the rest of his life with the bullet lodged in his neck. His family has started a Go Fund Me campaign to help the father of three handle medical expenses.
While the media and others call him a hero, one commenter summed up Smith in one sentence, “This is what America is about!”