Las Vegas shooting touches Beaverton, Tigard
Late Sunday night, a lone gunman broke out the windows of a 32nd-floor hotel room and opened fire on a crowd of thousands enjoying a concert on the Las Vegas Strip.
Authorities say the mass shooting was the deadliest in modern U.S. history. At least 59 were killed or fatally wounded, and more than 500 others were injured, before the shooter — identified by police as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock — took his own life, according to Las Vegas metropolitan police.
Several people from Beaverton and Tigard were in Las Vegas at the time, and at least two were at the Jason Aldean concert outside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. One of them was unharmed. The other died.
Local media in Alaska reported Dorene Anderson, 49, was among the dead in the Las Vegas shooting. Anderson was a resident of Anchorage, but she grew up in Tigard.
The Alaska Housing Finance Corp., a public corporation where Anderson's husband works, confirmed her death in a Facebook post as well as an email to employees, according to KTUU-TV in Anchorage.
"Due to this horrific and terrible situation, our family is dealing with a great loss," a statement from the family shared on Facebook by the Alaska Housing Finance Corp. stated. "She (Dorene) was the most amazing wife, mother and person this world ever had. We are so grateful and lucky for the time that we did have with her. We are greatly appreciative and want to thank everyone for the thoughts and prayers you have been sending us. We are dealing with the situation as a family, and would appreciate our privacy as we grieve for our loss."
Friends and family remembered and mourned Anderson on Facebook as well.
A post on a public group called Alaska Aces Fans — Anderson was reportedly a devotee of the minor league hockey team — described Anderson as "a wonderful, generous person who was a friend to many."
Anderson was a student at Tigard High School before she withdrew in 1985. She was at the concert with her husband and daughters.
Tigard-Tualatin School District officials said Anderson enrolled at the high school as a freshman and was a member of the girls swim team.
Collin Wiseman, a Las Vegas resident who grew up in Beaverton and graduated from Beaverton High School in 2012, was also at the concert with his girlfriend, Brooke Freeman. Aldean is one of Wiseman's favorite performers, he told The Times.
"We were pretty much in the same location the whole time," Wiseman said. "There were two stages, so we were going back and forth between them, but we pretty much stayed in the same location. But I told my girlfriend, for the last act, I really want to get close to the stage."
Wiseman and Freeman managed to get about eight rows back from the stage for Aldean's performance. The country star had just started to play "When She Says Baby," one of Wiseman's favorite Aldean tracks, when popping sounds could be heard in the venue. Freeman turned to Wiseman and asked, "Did you hear that?"
"My initial impression was that someone had just set off a cap gun, because I've heard gun shots before and they didn't really sound like that," Wiseman said.
But then the popping sound started and stopped again, and Wiseman saw Jason Aldean flee the stage. He said that he and Freeman realized what was going on sooner than many in the crowd, which gave them an opportunity to flee more quickly than others.
"Everyone around was like, those aren't real bullets, those aren't real gunshots," he said.
But they were real gunshots — and they kept coming as Wiseman and Freeman raced to leave the venue.
"Every time the pops would happen, people would hit the floor," he said. "Then they would stop, and people would move, and then they'd start again. Eventually we just beelined it out and ran pretty much as far as we could."
According to the Google Maps app on Wiseman's phone, the couple ran 1.2 miles from the venue — all the way to TopGolf, an entertainment center that sits just off the Vegas Strip.
"We thought we were safe when we actually weren't, because there were people getting picked off outside the venue, which is just crazy to think about," Wiseman said.
As soon as he and Freeman reached TopGolf, Wiseman called his parents to tell them he was safe.
"I wanted to let them know before they could even worry," he said.
Eventually, a friend of Wiseman and Freeman came to pick them up and drive them home. And that, for Wiseman, was when the gravity of the situation started to set in.
"I can honestly say I'm more mortified after the event than I was during, because in the back of my mind, I didn't really accept that it was gunfire yet," he said.
Wiseman said he barely slept that night.
"The aftermath is really something you don't consider," said Wiseman, who works as a corporate food services manager for MGM Resorts, the parent company of Mandalay Bay, and said he used his company connections to score tickets to the country music festival at which Aldean performed. "I didn't sleep at all after that night. Well, I did sleep at one point for maybe half an hour, and woke up in a puddle of sweat, shivering. It takes its toll on you."
CJ Ries, 26, of Beaverton is a computer software engineer, a musician and a hockey player. He's been playing hockey since 1997 and was looking forward to participating in the 2017 Labeda Hockey Inline Cup held in Las Vegas last week with his team The Amigos.
His joy quickly turned to horror.
"I was staying at the Monte Carlo," Ries said, as he pointed to video he took on his cellphone as he walked around Mandalay Bay at 9:54 p.m. on Sunday — just before the shooting started at 10:08 p.m.
"We were done with the tournament and we were out partying," Ries said. At just about 10 p.m., the guys decided to call it a night. Shortly after, the hotel was placed on lockdown. But the team had already gone to sleep.
"We heard screaming, but we didn't know why. We heard people yelling — like, a ruckus. We didn't know what it was. It's Vegas, so it's loud." Ries said.
He wasn't the only one. Kathy McAlpine of Tigard, the city's police chief, was in Las Vegas Sunday night for a conference, staying at the Orleans Hotel a few blocks off the Las Vegas Strip.
"I personally did not hear them," McAlpine said of the gunshots and commotion, but "others did and thought that is just Las Vegas."
Ries was awoken by a text message from a friend at 12:20 a.m. Monday. It said, "Hey man, are you OK?" and Ries responded, "Yeah, why?"
That was when he learned people were killed — lots of them.
"There were three of us in the room," he said. "We had no words. It was surreal. We had to stay calm and collected."
Among the people in the crowd that night were friends of Marcus Davis. Davis lives in Tigard now, but he was born and raised in Las Vegas and lived there until he was 22.
"None of our family was at the concert," Davis told The Times. "The vast majority of family has moved away, but so many friends still there. A couple friends I know directly were at the venue, but they made it out OK. Only heard of friends of friends that were injured or, in one instance, killed."
After hearing the news of the shooting, Ries sent text messages to family, band members and friends to let them know he was safe.
Ries said he felt fortunate.
"One of my teammates who was at a casino during the shooting, was stampeded during the chaos," he said. "He's doing alright now."
Ries said he had never seen so many police cars. People were distraught and sad everywhere. He said the whole tone of Vegas shifted.
"I experienced pure depression — deflation. I was up until 3 or 4 in the morning just contemplating," Ries said. "I wanted to go home. Everybody just wanted to go home."
Davis remembers a different Las Vegas than the city he has seen in the videos of the shooting and, in its aftermath, people lining up to give blood for victims of the violence.
"Shootings always feel like they're somewhere else, but when you recognize the places people are, it feels like it happened in your backyard," said Davis.
He added, "Definitely surreal. Even from a distance."
Ries landed at Portland International Airport at 1:30 p.m. Monday to television crews and cameras all over the place at baggage claim.
"I just grabbed my hockey sticks and put my head down and left," he said. "Why would I spend my time talking to a stranger when I could be home?"
Ries said he had to process everything. He thought about what he could have done differently and what if he had not gone back to the hotel when he did.
His takeaway: "This could have happened anywhere. There's no time in life to live afraid. The most you can do in this society is to move forward," Ries said. "Nobody could have planned for this. What are you going to do sit in your house the rest of your life? I have no fear. It's a risk I take by stepping out the front door."
Ries wasn't the first person in his band of four, Stoning Giants, to be in the area of a mass shooting this year. The band's drummer and his fiancée were locked down during the shooting at the Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport in Florida earlier this year.
Kevin Harden contributed to this report.
Editor's note: This story has been updated with more information on Dorene Anderson and her time at Tigard High School. An earlier version of this story misstated the name of Anderson's husband's employer on one reference; it is the Alaska Housing Finance Corp.