"Machine guns, firing everywhere.": Pine Belt ties to Las Vegas Shooting

"Machine guns, firing everywhere.": Pine Belt ties to Las Vegas Shooting
Source: Facebook/Shannon Ray Caffey

PINE BELT (WDAM) - At the Route 91 Harvest Festival and hundreds of miles away in Mississippi, families with Pine Belt ties spent Monday morning in a panic that turned into relief.

Hattiesburg native Shannon Ray Caffey had just arrived at the VIP tent at the festival with his wife, Andrea, when the gunfire started.  He said they went late, specifically for the Jason Aldean performance.

"Just trying to hide under everything we could to not get hit by the bullets," Caffey said through Skype Monday morning.

The couple hid in what Caffey described as a tent by the concession stands.  In a video he uploaded to Facebook, you can hear the gunshots spread through the crowd when someone says "we got to move."

"So scared. I was like, is this going to be the end of my life?" said Caffey.  "But I knew we had to, because we didn't know where the shots were coming and if they were inside our out and they could've been right behind us, so we had to go."

As they ran, Caffey continued to film.  You could see debris and hear screams in the background.  At one point, Caffey said to his wife "don't leave me."

"We wanted to be safe and get away from the gunfire," said Caffey.  "We saw these people, people that were shot and bleeding."

Caffey said he and his wife made it to safety and to their home in Las Vegas.  Caffey was born and raised in Hattiesburg, but now calls Las Vegas home where he works in audio for concerts and performance venues.

"I couldn't believe any of it, of what was happening.  It didn't feel real, but it was real," Caffey said.

"I know God was watching after me, it wasn't my time to go," said Caffey through a sigh of relief.  "I just woke up this morning, went outside and thank God that I'm alive, both of us."

Hundreds of miles away in Ellisville, one family spent Monday morning in panic trying to reach their son and brother who was on vacation in Las Vegas.

"It's like, what do you do," Harry Waldrup asked at his home in Ellisville.  "The phones ringing through the cycle, the battery's not dead. I know it's ringing and it's the worst feeling."

Waldrup and his daughter, Audrey Miller, said they last spoke with their son and brother around 9 p.m. central time Sunday night.  He told them he was either going to a concert at the Mandalay Bay or shows at neighboring hotels.

As of 10 a.m. Monday, Miller said she still hadn't heard from her brother, so she called the number provided by Las Vegas Police to locate victims.  As she was on the phone with police, her brother sent her a text.

"Relief," said Miller.

"You can't describe it, you go around with your stomach knotted up and all of a sudden its over," said Waldrup.  "It could have just as well been the other way."

Waldrup said his son chose another show at a hotel and was back in his room as the news broke of the shooting.

"We could have been one of them. Just as easy, we could've been making arrangements to go out there or whatever," said Waldrup.  "It didn't happen, it just didn't happen and you know, how do you get from Jones County to Las Vegas?"