A family from Port McNeill were minutes away from the deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas that killed 59 people and wounded more than 500.
Kate Hosken, her husband Harold, and 15-year-old son Bradley were in Las Vegas to celebrate Bradly’s fifteenth birthday.
They arrived on the 24th to see shows, a hockey game, and take in a concert on Fremont Street.
Country music star Jason Aldean was performing Oct. 1 at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in front of a crowd of more than 22,000 people when a gunman opened fire from the 44th story of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino across the street.
Fortunately, the Hoskens were not in attendance at the event.
“We researched everything, every event, and not once did this festival come up. We were here for a week and not once did we hear about it – we sure have a guardian angel looking over us because we would have 120 percent gone to it if we had known,” said Kate.
The Hoskens were instead at a different show at the Planet Hollywood Mall blocks away from the festival when the shooting took place and they were put in lockdown at 10 p.m. and not released until 2:30 am.
“We are devastated – the trip of a lifetime for our boy has now bad memories,” said Kate, adding “one man in his sick and twisted mind has taken so many lives and injured so many.”
She recounted that “just before dinner last night I was using the ladies room and a lady walked in and I could see she was about to cry so I said ‘sweetie are you alright?’ and she just broke down crying so I grabbed her and she cried on my shoulder for 10 minutes because she just found out her friend had passed away.”
The Las Vegas shooting has been considered the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
The gunman, identified as 64-year-old Nevada resident Stephen Paddock, was found dead by the Las Vegas Metro Police Department SWAT team when they breached his hotel room.
“We went out yesterday to have dinner and another show and the streets are full of police, security and armed forces on every corner,” said Kate. The family had a few more days in Las Vegas, before their return to the North Island and planned to stay near their hotel, Circus Circus, until their departure.
“Vegas residents have to carry on like it never happened,” said Kate, adding “we are just heartbroken – our boy can’t stop talking about how it could have been us if we had known about the festival.”
Four Canadians are among the 59 people killed in the shooting – a man from BC and three women from Alberta.
“We will always be saddened by the losses of Vegas and we will alway be so grateful for not knowing this festival was taking place and Vegas will never be the same,” said Kate.