People return home to Central Texas from Vegas after mass shooting

For some, coming to Austin is a feeling of comfort -- finally home after a terrifying weekend in Las Vegas.

CENTRAL TEXAS - As some victims of the mass shooting in Las Vegas try to start the process of healing, others who were there are returning home to Central Texas.

They're trying to come to grips with what they saw, some telling KVUE they're even going to see counselors. They’re all trying to get back to some sort of normal life here at home.

Bryce Wellman walked back into work Tuesday at the Cedar Park Police Department. Now, this ordinary task means a little bit more.

“I'm thankful enough to be able to come back to work today,” Wellman said.

It's his first day back after spending the weekend in the place he grew up, Las Vegas. He went to the three-day country music festival with a few longtime friends.

"We were crazy excited to go,” Wellman said. "I love country concerts, so that's why I was so excited to go."

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It started out as a great weekend.

"Friday night we were right by the stage, along the railing,” Wellman said.

His friend even got an upgrade to a VIP box seating, which included a makeshift indoor room. He said that building gave them a place to take cover when the shooting began.

"I'm definitely thankful, because if we were where we were Friday night, I think the outcome would have been different -- at least for us,” Wellman said. "So when the shooting did start happening, thankfully we did have a place to kind of take cover, instead of just being out in the open."

He described what happened that night.

“Jason Aldean came on, we're drinking beer, we're dancing, we're singing, he was maybe only like four, five songs in or so, and then we heard a couple pops, and I looked at my friend, and I was like, 'What was that?'" Wellman said. "We heard about maybe four, five of them in a row, and that's when everyone -- you could kind of see people looking around and kind of crouching down, but everyone thought it was fireworks. Jason Aldean was still singing. Everyone was still watching. No one thought anything of it."

But then he said they heard a series of shots.

"That's when we definitely knew there was a shooter somewhere and he wasn't stopping," Wellman said.

He called his mom as they huddled inside the VIP room.

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"I knew that if something was going to happen, I wanted her to know that I was thinking about her as what could have been the final moments, and that she was able to help comfort me during it,” Wellman said.

Then, they had to move.

"There was a brief moment when it stopped for a second and that's when someone opened our door and said, 'You guys need to run,'" he said. "And we were trying to run down the stairs of the back of the suite, and you could hear the bullets hitting the metal. There was a back parking lot, right behind the suite area, and that's where we just started running, and trying to run as fast as you can, and as low as you can, and every time you hear the shots, you would just try to jump behind a car, just in case," Wellman said.

The scariest part was not knowing where the bullets were coming from, he said.

"We had no idea where he was, I thought he was walking around outside of our suite, I would have never guessed that that's where he was, just cause it was so loud,” Wellman said.

He said the shots were loud as they tried to run down the back stairs, hearing bullets fall beside them.

"Do you run left or right? Do you stay and hide? You don't want to make the wrong decision, but we didn't know where he was, so I was terrified to make a left out of the suite, and come face to face with him and no chance,” Wellman said.

Now, safe at home, he's looking for information, just like everyone else.

"The hardest part is kind of waiting to see the victim's pictures come up, and if it's someone that you know,” Wellman said.

Victor McDaniel also just landed in Austin from Vegas Tuesday.

"The whole mood of the city has just kind of been somber, just kind of shocked at what happened,” McDaniel said.

He said he's not scared to go back to Vegas, it just makes him think twice about going to this type of event.

"In general going to events is just kind of scary -- that could happen anywhere,” McDaniel said.

For now, he -- like Wellman -- is just glad to be safe in Central Texas.

We also checked in with Cedar Park resident Danae Gibbs, who was injured in the Vegas shooting.

She’s still recovering in a Las Vegas hospital, and hopes to be released in a few days.

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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