The San Diego City Council on Monday will honor area residents who assisted victims in the Las Vegas mass shooting that left 58 concert-goers dead and hundreds of others wounded.
Councilwoman Lorie Zapf plans to introduce a proclamation declaring “Las Vegas Unsung Heroes Recognition Day” in San Diego.
In it, she calls the Oct. 1 shooting at a country music festival “one of the most horrific events in American history” and lauds Taylor Winston, Jenn Lewis, Officer Max Verduzco, Officer Tom McGrath and his wife, Tiffany.
She said Winston — an ex-Marine living in Ocean Beach — and Lewis, his girlfriend, found a truck with its keys in the ignition and used it to rush about two dozen shooting victims to a hospital.
Verduzco knocked over a fence, allowing the crowd to escape the scene, according to Zapf. Tom McGrath treated numerous gunshot victims on the concert grounds.
The two cops were among more than a dozen SDPD officers at the festival, along with seven San Diego firefighters.
“Many national news outlets and social media outlets have shared these local citizens’ stories and hail them as heroes,” Zapf says in her proposed proclamation. “They humbly accept this praise, but they are quick to recognize the many unsung heroes who also stepped up to the plate to help their fellow concert-goers to safety.”
A spokeswoman for Zapf said the five named in the proclamation all plan to attend the event at a City Council meeting.
The gunman, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino into the crowd at the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival during a performance by Jason Aldean. Paddock shot himself as SWAT officers prepared to breach his room.
The dead included a 42-year-old San Diego attorney, Jennifer Irvine. Several San Diego County residents are recovering from serious wounds.
Winston told CNN he instructed nearby audience members to keep their heads down and get out of the area. He and Lewis helped numerous people climb over a fence, he said.
He said he spotted a lot filled with work trucks and found one with a key.
“Once we were in it, we decided to go help get everyone out of there,” Winston said. They drove back to the venue, where some friends were setting up a “makeshift hospital” away from the continuing gunfire.
They drove as many people as they could at a hospital, where staff helped unload the patients, he said.
“Once we were clear, we just said let’s go back for more,” Winston said. “We went back for a second trip and filled (the truck) to the brim.”
At a news conference, Tom McGrath said he and his wife were approached by a young woman soon after the shooting started.
“She’d taken a round to the chest. She was holding her chest, and I could see a large amount of blood come out,” he said.
McGrath responded by tearing off his shirt and pressed it onto her wound.
“And I felt more hands go on top of mine … from everywhere, trying to help me put pressure on this wound,” he said. “And we were trying to lay her down. … And while we were tying to get (security personnel’s) attention and tending to her, the second round of (gunfire) came on, and I remember I just grabbed my wife … and I just pulled her close to me, and I laid on top of her, and I tried putting her on top of the (wounded) girl, and still everybody had their hands on top of mine.”
He said he helped Tiffany and others scale a fence, climbed over himself and realized he’d become separated from his wife. As he searched for her, he helped a man with a neck wound and applied a tourniquet to a woman’s injured leg.
Verduzco said he applied a tourniquet for a wounded man and helped a woman who had been shot in a leg.
–City News Service
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