As a gunman fired shots from a 32nd-floor window of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, a Germantown couple staying in a room on the same floor listened to the chaos unfold behind the locked doors of a local bar.
Jen Rupert and her husband Zach flew to Las Vegas for a long weekend in celebration of the couple’s fifth wedding anniversary and Zach’s birthday.
Rupert said she and her husband were at a local bar when a man ran in and yelled news of the shooting. At first, Rupert said she and others – including the bar’s owner – thought the warning was a false alarm or exaggeration.
“At first there were reports of multiple shooters at multiple hotels and we didn’t know what to do so we hunkered down. The owner closed and locked the doors and we stayed,” Rupert said.
“There were cop cars flying and people running around with no rhyme or reason to anything.”
Upon leaving the bar about an hour after the shooting, Rupert said the couple began walking as most of the roads in the city closed.
“We didn’t know where to go or which way was safe. SWAT officers started yelling at everyone to get off the streets [….] and we took shelter in a food court connected to the Planet Hollywood casino,” Rupert said.
It was while sitting in the food court that the couple realized the severity of the situation.
“A man in the lobby with blood on him was telling a person on the phone that he could help.”
“He said he was doing CPR on someone and they died. At that time, I had heard two were confirmed dead, but I knew after hearing him there just had to be more,” Rupert said.
The couple stayed in the casino as details emerged while police warned that safety outside could not be guaranteed.
“In the thick of it, there was so much information, even the police officers were saying if you go out there we can’t guarantee your safety,” Rupert said.
Rupert said she and her husband hailed a taxi later in the night and checked into a hotel off the Las Vegas strip.
Now in a room on the hotel’s 7th floor, the couple was given permission earlier today to retrieve their belongings from the floor where the deadliest shooting in U.S. history began.
“Thankfully we were not in the hotel. You start thinking about every decision you make when something like this happens and how one choice could lead to something different,” Rupert said.
Rupert said she and her husband were scheduled to return to the Miami Valley tomorrow evening, but will be fly into Dayton tonight. The couple will return home to their two young children and many worried family members.
“Overwhelmingly, people are good. That’s what I’ve gathered from this,” Rupert said.
“There are way more good people. It’s tragic that one person can do that to so many people […] you can’t stop people from doing things. No matter what someone is going to find a way to do these things.”