Among the 529 people wounded at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas on Sunday night is 30-year-old Jonathan Smith.
With a bullet that will likely remain lodged in the left side of his neck for the rest of his life, Jonathan’s wound is now a harrowing reminder of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
It’s also a reminder of the 30 lives he saved while escaping the heinous attack.
After driving from California to attend the music festival—a celebration of his older brother Louis’ 43rd birthday—Jonathan and his nine family members had scored prime seats to the Jason Aldean concert on Sunday night.
Like most of their fellow concertgoers, Jonathan and Louis heard what they believed to be fireworks when the attack commenced.
It wasn’t until Jason Aldean fled the stage when almost everyone realized the imminent danger they were suddenly trapped in. Louis told the family to hold hands and run, while Jonathan focused on protecting his three nieces. The 22-, 18- and 17-year-olds had become separated in the stampeding crowd.
As he turned back to look for them near the stage, Jonathan saw people hunched over, paralyzed by fear and completely frightened. They didn’t know what to do.
He grabbed as many people as he could and pushed them toward the exits shouting, “Active shooter, active shooter, let’s go! We have to run.”
In the process of searching for his nieces, Jonathan managed to help more than 30 others to safety behind a row of cars parked in a field outside of the festival venue.
“I got a few people out of there,” Smith said. “You could hear the shots. It sounded like it was coming from all over Las Vegas Boulevard.”
When he noticed a few young girls weren’t fully hidden behind the vehicles, he moved toward them, urging them to get down. That’s when Jonathan was struck by a bullet in the left side of his neck.
Heroes Helping Heroes
An off-duty police officer is believed to have given Jonathan the medical attention he needed.
“I really didn’t want to die,” Jonathan recalled. The off-duty officer reassured him that everything would be OK before getting the attention of a truck driving by to take him to the hospital.
“I couldn’t feel anything in my neck,” Jonathan says. “There was a warm sensation in my arm.” He remembers having trouble breathing when put into the back of the truck with a handful of other wounded people.
Jonathan suffered from a gunshot wound, a broken collarbone, cracked ribs and a bruised lung.