SPOKANE, Wash. - As a gunman opened fire on tens of thousands of people in Las Vegas, several people attending the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival are from or are native to the Spokane area.
As thousands ran for their lives, one couple native to Spokane helped others out in the process. Nick and Ali Pendergrass said when the shots rang out, their reaction was almost instinctual. They wanted to find a way out and help others get out, and thanks to their actions at least three people received the medical treatment they needed and dozens more escaped.
It's unimaginable what happened just outside the Mandalay Bay Casino, but it's a situation more than 22,000 people found themselves in Sunday night. As Jason Aldean was on stage performing, the sound of gunfire broke the music.
"Once the continuous rounds started, everybody dropped to the ground and tried to take cover as fast as they could in between shots being fired," said Ali Pendergrass. Pendergrass, a Spokane native, and her husband, Nick, dropped to the ground as soon as they heard those bullets. They knew they had to make it to the nearest exit.
The couple says they ran about 200 to 300 feet to a large metal fence and began climbing.
"People were climbing over, getting stuck," said Nick Pendergrass. "And it was a metal fence with like 20 posts at the top. It wasn't something that was easily climbed," Ali Pendergrass added.
As they were making their way over the fence, the couple began helping others across too. They guess they helped around 40 people get to the other side.
On the other side of the fence, Nick used his training as an Army firefighter to take care of three people who had been shot. A fourth woman they were helping was shot while trying to cross the fence, but didn't make it.
With 911 inundated with calls, Ali knew they needed to get to a hospital and found a panicked woman nearby with a way out.
"I said 'honey, I'm sorry that you're upset, but you're not hurt and I've got three gunshot victims who need to go to the hospital, can I take your truck?' And she just took my phone number and handed me the keys and said 'do what you got to do, we'll figure it out later,'" Ali Pendergrass said.
Those three people are now being treated for their injuries. Ali and Nick got a flight home Monday night, and are now considered a hero to many.
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