Las Vegas massacre touches Hillsboro, Washington County
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.
At least 59 were killed or fatally wounded in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, 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 Washington County were in Las Vegas at the time, and at least three were at the Jason Aldean concert outside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, including one of the victims.
Dorene Anderson, 49, was among the dead in the Las Vegas shooting. Anderson was a resident of Anchorage, but grew up in Tigard.
"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 House Finance Corp. stated. "(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."
Hillsboro resident Sherri Bromagem and her husband, David, flew to Las Vegas to attend the concert. They left the concert at about 9:30 p.m. to get dinner, about a half-hour before the shooting began, she said.
"We could hear helicopters between us and the Mandalay Bay," she said. Back home, Bromagem's three daughters were trying to reach them throughout the evening, but Bromagem said her phone was turned off.
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.
"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 a new song 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 gunshots before and they didn't really sound like that," Wiseman said.
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.
"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."
Wiseman estimates they ran about a mile from the venue.
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.
"I did sleep at one point for maybe half an hour, and woke up in a puddle of sweat, shivering," he said. "It takes its toll on you."
Bromagem, from Hillsboro, said it wasn't until the next morning that she realized the extent of what had happened.
"There were still bodies out there — you could see them from the hotel room," Bromagem said.
The couple's return flight to Oregon wasn't scheduled until Tuesday night, Bromagem said. They spent the rest of their time watching the news or mourning with other hotel guests.
"The whole city was very somber," she said. "You could see in everyone's faces that they had been impacted. You can see in their eyes the trauma they went through."
One man she met told her that he had been watching the show when the woman next to him was shot, Bromagem said.
"Then another next to him got shot. He hadn't eaten anything since it happened. He couldn't."
CJ Ries, 26, of Beaverton is a musician and a hockey player. He was looking forward to participating in the 2017 Labeda Hockey Inline Cup held in Las Vegas last week with his team.
Also in Las Vegas was 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.
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."
"If they were selling tickets today for next year's show, we'd be buying them again," she said. "I had to take my dog to the vet today, and I realized that I could die doing that, too."